Sparks From the Edge (40K/BT)

UF: Stories written by users, both fanfics and original.

Moderator: LadyTevar

User avatar
Eternal_Freedom
Castellan
Posts: 9682
Joined: 2010-03-09 02:16pm
Location: Bound in a nutshell

Re: Sparks From the Edge (40K/BT)

Post by Eternal_Freedom » 2013-03-28 07:40am

Darkevilme wrote:I think they're a world away from deploying a space PDF. Seen as the place has three high tech installations, ones an administrative center and the other makes cheap BTech ablative armour slabs. There's no possible way of making enough infrastructure to launch anything space worthy in the few years they have.

That being said I'm sure the battlebarge carries fighters that survived their translation and I think thunderhawks might be armed for space combat, they'll complete the tunnel to the surface in those few years.
The Thunderhawks are armed for space combat IIRC my Battlefleet Gothic rules. Besides, they can carry turbolasers,which are titan-killing weapons. And since they are in the Periphery they are not going to encounter true warships. They wouldn't even find those in the IS. They will be fighting JumpShips and DropShips which will be the equivalent of their own craft really.
Baltar: "I don't want to miss a moment of the last Battlestar's destruction!"
Centurion: "Sir, I really think you should look at the other Battlestar."
Baltar: "What are you babbling about other...it's impossible!"
Centurion: "No. It is a Battlestar."

Corrax Entry 7:17: So you walk eternally through the shadow realms, standing against evil where all others falter. May your thirst for retribution never quench, may the blood on your sword never dry, and may we never need you again.

moglwi
Redshirt
Posts: 23
Joined: 2012-11-10 11:31am

Re: Sparks From the Edge (40K/BT)

Post by moglwi » 2013-03-28 04:47pm

Darkevilme wrote:I think they're a world away from deploying a space PDF. Seen as the place has three high tech installations, ones an administrative center and the other makes cheap BTech ablative armour slabs. There's no possible way of making enough infrastructure to launch anything space worthy in the few years they have.

That being said I'm sure the battlebarge carries fighters that survived their translation and I think thunderhawks might be armed for space combat, they'll complete the tunnel to the surface in those few years.
I think that the Marines on the battlebarge once they start to review any int they will reilse that the best way of dealing with any incursions espacaly as they can only appear certian places also while using the need to build SPDF it will also help them build there space infrastructure which can only a good thing

User avatar
Darkevilme
Jedi Council Member
Posts: 1514
Joined: 2007-06-12 02:27pm
Location: London, england
Contact:

Re: Sparks From the Edge (40K/BT)

Post by Darkevilme » 2013-03-28 05:53pm

moglwi wrote: I think that the Marines on the battlebarge once they start to review any int they will reilse that the best way of dealing with any incursions espacaly as they can only appear certian places also while using the need to build SPDF it will also help them build there space infrastructure which can only a good thing
There's what is desired and then there is what is desired and practical. You're addressing the former, i'm addressing why it's not the latter.

Yes, having a SPDF would be NICE. I'm saying outright that they're not going to manage it anytime SOON, especially not before King comes back. At which point the question of how much of a SPDF they can build with their existing infrastructure will be moot as assuming at least one drop-ship survives the battle and the jump-ship is taken intact by the thunderhawks * they'll be capable of going to other planets in search of someone to trade with and so improve said infrastructure.

*I say this because apparently jump-ships can only carry drop-ships which have fancy KF jump drive tagalong devices aboard them. Plugging thunderhawks into the jump-ship docking collars would probably be a bad thing.
STGOD SDNW4 player. Chamarran Hierarchy Catgirls in space!
Image

User avatar
Academia Nut
Sith Devotee
Posts: 2598
Joined: 2005-08-23 10:44pm
Location: Edmonton, Alberta

Re: Sparks From the Edge (40K/BT)

Post by Academia Nut » 2013-04-15 05:16pm

So I was planning on posting Chapter Eleven tonight.

The plot of the chapter deals with a shoot out between Imperials and those who aren't happy about their actions, and a lot of civilians get caught in the crossfire. This chapter was completed back in March before life decided to club me upside the head. However, in light of the recent events in Boston I feel that some may find it a bit too soon. If anyone asks me too (including by PM) I will delay the chapter for a few days to let things settle down. I hope no one has been affected by this mess, either personally or peripherally through friends and family.
I love learning. Teach me. I will listen.
You know, if Christian dogma included a ten-foot tall Jesus walking around in battle armor and smashing retarded cultists with a gaint mace, I might just convert - Noble Ire on Jesus smashing Scientologists

User avatar
Academia Nut
Sith Devotee
Posts: 2598
Joined: 2005-08-23 10:44pm
Location: Edmonton, Alberta

Re: Sparks From the Edge (40K/BT)

Post by Academia Nut » 2013-04-15 11:50pm

Okay, it seems like my worry was unnecessary. I just felt that if I posted something that just one reader felt was unnecessary for today that I would be doing them a disservice. My worries really are only tangential, but I didn't want to appear like my bad timing was an attempt to cash in on for what many people is a tragedy (see the epically bad timing of Rammstein's music video Ich Will, released on 10 September, 2001 and featuring the terrorist Oscars as an example of that sort of thing). I hope instead if there is anyone out there that needs cheering up my work brings a smile instead.

Chapter Eleven

Imminent peril had a way of shutting down the more self-critical portions of Epiktetos' brain, leaving him with a peculiar sort of calm awareness that lead to what some might call a casual disregard for danger. It allowed him to ask, while being fired upon and thumbing shells into his combat shotgun, "Do you think it is the hat? I only got it about a week ago and already I've been shot at twice while I wasn't looking for a fight."

Directing a burst of fire from her lasgun blindly out the window while solid shot rounds smashed into the plaster all around her, Yulee noted, "It is a dashing hat sir."

The dull monotone of the vox that had replaced her vocal cords did not convey whether she was being sincere or sarcastic, but from what Epiktetos has learned of Yulee since their introduction he was fairly certain it was the former. Putting his own gun back up on the sill to stabilize it somewhat while also firing blindly, he noted, "While I can acknowledge on the battlefield it would tend to draw fire-"

Yulee's head jerked to the side as a bullet punched through the wall and struck her in the face, causing her to shudder off the damage, although it also completed the disintegration of her civilian-frightening-minimization faceplate. Epiktetos paused in his observations to suggest, "I think you should take that off now, it is just getting in the way."

"Right you are sir," Yulee said as she pulled off the remaining piece of flak armour hanging loosely in front of her face, firing her gun one handed in the general direction of the enemy.

"Anyway... ah yes. While I acknowledge battlefield realities of wearing such a distinctive piece of headgear..." Epiktetos said, pausing for a moment to take advantage of a break in the enemy firing to expose himself slightly so as to take more aimed shots before both of them ducked back down again for the dubious shelter of the house. "...I have not actually been attempting to engage anyone in battle either time someone opened fire."

Pumping out the last spent shell for that load, he began feeding more ammunition in and explained clinically, "I mean, the first time I was intending to go 'Hey, there's going to be thousands of soldiers in the city and you have lots of alcohol, can we come to some sort of agreement on this?' and instead of even hearing out why I was there the silly bugger just opened fire right away."

"Last ten rounds in the cell sir," Yulee reported as she continued to fire away.

"Right, one second," Epiktetos noted while he pulled a grenade off his belt and expertly lobbed it through the window and across the street. After the explosive went off he immediately stood up at the window and pumped more rounds into the building across the street while Yulee quickly and expertly popped the power cell out of her lasgun and inserted a fresh one.

Returning to full cover to resume reloading, Epiktetos picked back up where he left off and said, "And now this. 'Oh hey there confused and drunk civilians, these nice soldiers aren't hassling you are they? Because it's my job to make sure that doesn't happen. Oh, you want to start shooting now do you?' Just not right. Incidentally, where is our back-up?"

Craning her neck slightly to see out another window, Yulee stated, "Looks like the crowds are still packed in tight over there sir."

"Really? Blast! This holding them in place thing is rather getting old," Epiktetos grumbled. He felt a bit of a tap on his side that forced him to grunt a touch, and then he added on, "Eventually one of these bullets is going to hit something important."

"Define important, sir," Yulee asked as she continued to lay down suppression.

Epiktetos blinked before he said, "I'm not certain if that was humour or philosophy."

"Is there a difference, sir?" Yulee inquired.

"Now there's philosophy," Epiktetos muttered as finished reloading and went back to shooting.

"If you say so sir," Yulee replied. Glancing out the other side of the building, she noted, "Also I think our reinforcements have arrived."

"Praise the Emperor! What makes you say so?" Epiktetos asked.

"Because the wall of people has turned around and is now running back this way," Yulee noted in her eternal deadpan.

"For the love of the Emperor... cease firing," Epiktetos ordered. Without the suppressive fire the two had been laying down the enemy fire became considerably more focused on their position, and Epiktetos almost immediately said, "Withdraw from the window!"

Rolling and sliding away from the window and further into the upper-middle class home they had appropriated for cover when the shooting first started and holed up behind a large, heavy wooden desk, Epiktetos noted, "I was told flat out that our lives are worth less than the public relations damage of our people shooting civilians this early in the game, so we will sit here until the crowd passes by so that we won't risk anyone getting caught in the crossfire."

"Do you think they will stop shooting to let the civilians pass?" Yulee asked.

"No, but if we're not shooting back it will be easier not to take blame for it afterward," Epiktetos noted grimly. Glancing over Yulee, he pointed to a hole in her flak jacket and said, "You're bleeding."

Glancing at the wound, Yulee corrected, "Leaking. They replaced my blood several operations ago. The damage is non-critical."

A large calibre round, probably for big game hunting, blew a nice big hole in the desk and sent splinters of wood to scratch at Epiktetos' face and bounce off Yulee's but otherwise did no damage. Brushing dust away from his face, Epiktetos asked, "You know, I thought it rather rude to ask but since it seems like it may come up, how much of your original body remains."

"Original? About ninety-five percent of my brain," Yulee stated after a moment's thought.

"That's... that's... wow. I knew you had been heavily rebuilt, but... wow," Epiktetos asked.

"The boarding action by a Chaos warband five years ago was the most extensive rebuild. A squad teleported in on the position of my squad and my left arm ended up lodged inside the head of their leader. I had to perform an emergency self-amputation to avoid contracting anything and the remaining traitors took exception to the death of their leader, causing considerable organ loss. Fortunately for me - and the estimated three Astartes saved by the experience I have given the Apothecaries and Medicae - at that point it was considered a theological decision to continue replacing damaged body parts with bionics," Yulee explained clinically as bullets continued to rain down around them.

"Theological?" Epiktetos asked.

"My continued survival has been declared proof of that the Emperor works miracles. I think it is a bit much, but anything to help out with morale," Yulee said, and Epiktetos thought that he detected a slight hint of pride.

"Huh... and here comes the panicked mob," Epiktetos noted dryly as the stampede Yulee had reported appeared outside the window they had been firing from. From the continued sound of gunfire and bullets thudding into the walls and desk, this had not deterred the enemy by much. Judging by the screaming, not all of their bullets went where they wanted them to.

Then the screaming redoubled when a rather distinctive sound reached the pair huddled beneath the desk, and Epiktetos could only proclaim in irritation, "Incendiaries? You think fire will do anything against the thousands of soldiers that can be brought to bear against you that bullets can't?"

Peaking over the edge of the desk, Yulee reported, "They appear to have thrown into the crowd, which is now crushing itself trying to go in multiple directions at once."

The press of screaming people rapidly found a new direction to go into, namely into the buildings on the opposite side of the street from the one, including the one that Epiktetos and Yulee were using for cover, although since several of the guns didn't stop firing many of the panicked mob were shot as they tried to go through the windows. Several others were simply pushed through the walls by the pressure of those behind them trying to flee from the fire and guns and Imperial soldiers pushing along.

A young man got shoved to the ground in front of the desk, battered and bleeding, and Epiktetos reached out and grabbed him, hauling him out of the way of the crowd and under the desk. Looking down at the face before him, so naive and soft and -damn it!- probably slightly older than he was, Epiktetos noted with dry grimness, "Some celebration, huh?" Although he did it in Gothic so as to not be too macabre.

Turning to Yulee, who the young man was staring at in horrified fascination due to the way the synthskin stretched over her face and had torn bloodlessly from bullet wounds to reveal the metal underneath, Epiktetos noted, "That much damage can't be good for the building."

There was a loud groaning sound followed by a rapid series of pops like gunfire and then the chaos of human screaming and wood breaking as the front of the building caved in. Far enough in that the room above was only leaning on them instead of sitting on them and protected by the desk, the Imperials and one terrified young man rode out the disaster. Epiktetos muttered darkly, "I hate being right like that."

"We should probably vacate this location sir," Yulee noted.

"Agreed. This would be the perfect opportunity to throw another incendiary bomb," Epiktetos noted. A few moments later the distinct sound of glass breaking and liquid fuel catching fire was heard over the sound of screams, groans, and settling debris. "Really hate being right."

Scrambling out of the wreckage, pushing the scared young man ahead of them while he said in the language that had been hypno-indoctrinated into his mind, "Out the back, see if you can get some people to assist with firefighting."

"Uh... yes sir," the young man answered numbly.

"Good lad," Epiktetos replied, although the closeness of their ages made the words seem a bit pretentious. The sound of lasguns and shotguns informed Epiktetos of the squad that had been called for back-up had engaged the insurgents. Gesturing in that direction, he said to Yulee, "Think we should go join in the fight once more?"

"It is our duty to the Emperor," Yulee replied.

"That was rhetorical," Epiktetos noted dryly as he jogged in the direction of the gunfire and called out, "Epiktetos here!"

"Zuza at nine o'clock, do not shoot!" Someone called out, which Epiktetos took as his cue to pop around the corner. The soldiers were keeping up a fairly steady rate of fire and were working to suppress the enemy quite well. Moving in closer, Epiktetos noted that the soldiers seemed to brighten up when they glanced just to his rear. Looking behind him, he found Yulee following obediently just a pace behind.

Noticing both their looks, Yulee said, "So long as I'm still standing no one else gets shot."

The heavy hunting rifle barked out its distinctive discharge and the bullet ploughed through two wooden walls before stopping against Epiktetos' flak coat, the most serious damage being the wooden splinters that were thrown about by the powerful round's passage. Epiktetos gave Yulee a level, slightly annoyed look and her optics flickered for a moment in what was probably an approximation of blinking, before she amended, "No one gets wounded."

Shaking his head in irritation at the universe and rolling his back at the tingling that no doubt meant he would have a bruise tomorrow, Epiktetos turned back to the squad and said, "Right then, several things need to get done. First, we can't let this keep going on much longer or the fires will get completely out of hand since for whatever reason this neighbourhood likes wood construction. Second, we need to actually fight these fires, but hopefully we should get some aid on that from the local civilians soon enough. Sergeant, I'll need you to break your squad into two fire teams. One team shall remain here to suppress the enemy while I take the other team to flank and assault the enemy position."

The sergeant of the squad nodded and then said, "Woloski, your team with Zuza."

Having positively identified the commander of the squad, Epiktetos nodded, passed his shotgun to Yulee, marched up to the man and backhanded him. Glaring power swords at the man, Epiktetos said, "Also sergeant, as a former lieutenant I know that crowd control is something that was practiced back on the Dirge. I suggest you and your squad brush up on the basics before I see you on patrol next."

The sergeant and his men looked absolutely shocked, but Epiktetos just drew his laspistol and chainsword, looked over at the man identified as Woloski and said, "Let's go shut those idiots up, they are beginning to get on my nerves."

As a chapter serf Epiktetos was only vaguely aware of the reputations surrounding commissars, but he figured that he had earned enough respect for diving in after the members of the Disciplinary Squad who had been drowning in molasses that he could afford to work on his fearful reputation without being shot or going unsupported. He was indeed right as the sergeant quickly overcame his shock and ordered his fire team to unleash a blistering hail of las rounds while he, Yulee, and the other fire team advanced towards the house where the rebels were holed up.

As they were charging across the street where civilians either writhed in pain or remained very still with various injuries inflicted by half a dozen means, Epiktetos made a slight change of plan and pointed to a large window on the front floor of the house and shouted out, "Yulee, open it up!"

Putting on a burst of speed, Yulee took a diving forward leap head first through the window, ploughing through in a shower of jagged glass, Epiktetos just a fraction of a step behind so that he was jumping into the room on the other side with the way already cleared for him. There were a pair of rebels with guns on the other side that were quickly dispatched by las fire from Epiktetos and an already rising Yulee, the astonished men barely even having time to realize that someone had leapt through the window like that.

Sweeping the room with his laspistol and finding no further targets, Epiktetos barked out in the language of these people, "Throw down your weapons and surrender!"

One of the two doors to the room was abruptly pushed open by a burly, dark haired man on the other side wielding a very large bore weapon. He was considerably better at fighting than the two who had been guarding the room with the window, as he was crouched low using stairs as cover and he had used his gun to open the door so he could open fire immediately. Epiktetos had just enough time to admire the clever bastard when both barrels of the weapon went off.

Getting a chest full of buckshot hurt, even with his flak coat on. Unfortunately for the rebel, Epiktetos was his own harshest critic and he had long ago decided that pain was not a reason to let anything get in his way. He barely let the blasts stagger him before he found his footing and dashed forward. It probably would have been faster to just shoot the man, but he was angry after being shot and so he brought his chainsword down in a brutal arc that splattered bone, blood and brains all across the stairwell. Reversing the spin of the teeth to get them unstuck from the twitching corpse, Epiktetos screamed, "I said surrender!"

The sound of breaking wood and lasguns going off heralded the arrival of the fireteam. Seeing red and hearing no indication of the bastards actually giving up, Epiktetos charged up the stairs to the second floor where he knew there would be more enemies. Seeing a closed door at the top of the stairwell, Epiktetos went by a hunch and thrust his chainsword through without attempting to open the door first and was rewarded with a scream of agony and fresh gore being thrown off the churning teeth of his blade.

Withdrawing his blade he kicked open the flimsy wooden door, and while most of the energy was consumed by the corpse on the other side it did open things up just enough to reveal another man holding some sort of rifle. He might have had the presence of mind to shoot had he not been busy being sick from what he had just witnessed, so Epiktetos took the opportunity to shoot him in the head, blowing the contents of the man's skull across the wall behind him.

Shoving the door the rest of the way open, Epiktetos swept into the upper floor, which was a large open loft filled with everything one might need to get into a shoot out. There were five men within, four of them on the right huddled about the window that overlooked the street, clutching rifles and trying not to catch a las round, while the fifth was picking up something from one of the crates scattered about the floor to the left. They had all turned in Epiktetos' direction, no doubt in response to the deaths of the two door guards. Before they could turn their guns on him, Epiktetos shot the man on the left.

Epiktetos had intended to immediately duck back inside the stairwell and let a grenade finish off the rest, but unfortunately the man he had just shot had been picking up and arming some sort of bomb. The initial blast knocked him into the loft, and he deliberately rolled to try to shed some of the energy from the explosion. Feeling distinctively worse for the wear, he noticed that the other men in the loft were not attempting to shoot him but were instead looking past him with a distinct sense of horror. Deciding that such a reaction demanded action, Epiktetos forced himself to his feet on pure will and charged.

His target was not the men though, but the window behind him. Proper soldiers would have been able to decide what to do, but these were just men with guns angry at the announcement that things were going to be different. Two of them dropped their guns and started to run towards the burning crates behind him, heedless of the danger. He ignored them. One man was clearly in a state of panic and had no idea what to do. He ignored him. One man had a very large and ornate gun that appeared to be meant for hunting mega fauna and he began to bring his weapon to bear.

If he had picked a smaller and more manoeuvrable weapon, he probably would have made it. As it was, Epiktetos got to him before he could finish getting his weapon in place. Chainsword roaring, he took the man's head off with a single swipe before he slammed into the corpse and used it as a battering ram to carry them both through the thoroughly perforated windowsill and out into open air. At some point between exiting the building and hitting the ground, whatever munitions were stored in the loft went off in a spectacular fireball, but the blast and subsequent collision with the ground rattled about Epiktetos' memory of the exact sequence of events.

While the headless corpse had provided some cushioning, rather gorily absorbing energy from the fall by forcibly expelling most of the blood in the body out the severed stump in an excessively long arc, the impact with the ground still hurt. Still, Epiktetos could see civilians, both wounded and those who had come to help with the firefighting, looking on and thus he forced himself to his feet despite essentially every part of his body screaming at him to not do that.

For a moment he felt strangely light headed, but that soon was explained and alleviated when his hat drifted from the sky to land on his head. Feeling rather uncomfortably warm, he casually reached up and patted out the flames that were burning on one side. Feeling distinctly out of sorts, he glanced about with half glazed eyes and made up his mind. Holstering his laspistol, he leaned nonchalantly on his chainsword as he pulled out a canteen and began to drink.

Exhaling sharply, he called out to everyone, "Well? We've got two fires to fight now! Sergeant, see to your men!"

"They're all clear sir," Yulee replied as she casually walked out of the smoke filled first floor of the house, patting out a patch of fire on her left shoulder as if it were an everyday occurrence.

"Excellent. Ah, and I see that even more reinforcements have arrived. Medicae even! Please attend to the civilians first, I am fairly certain they are worse off than I," Epiktetos proclaimed as cheerfully as he could fake it.

Leaning in closer to the charred face of Yulee, he whispered to her, "For the Love of the Emperor, keep me standing, even if you have to prop up my corpse."

"How bad is it sir?" Yulee inquired.

"Well I'm not coughing up blood so I don't have a punctured lung, but I am certain that I have several broken ribs from the shotgun, I think something in my left wrist is out of place, and I have at least twisted both ankles, if not worse," Epiktetos silently listed off. He then took another pull from his canteen for the crowds.

"Huh, reminds me of my first mission after giving birth," Yulee noted.

The sheer insanity of finding out that Yulee had somehow managed to reproduce was too much for Epiktetos and he promptly did a spit take.

So much for commissarial dignity.

---
I love learning. Teach me. I will listen.
You know, if Christian dogma included a ten-foot tall Jesus walking around in battle armor and smashing retarded cultists with a gaint mace, I might just convert - Noble Ire on Jesus smashing Scientologists

User avatar
Grimnosh
Youngling
Posts: 124
Joined: 2010-07-20 08:35am
Location: San Antonio, TX

Re: Sparks From the Edge (40K/BT)

Post by Grimnosh » 2013-04-16 02:33pm

Nice update AN, by the name of the Great Unclean One I am loving this.

And as for Yulee, I don't think commissarial (let alone any other type) dignity wouldn't survive first contact with her.
Last edited by Grimnosh on 2013-04-17 12:57pm, edited 1 time in total.
You know, its remarkably easy to feed an undead army if all you have are just enemies....

User avatar
Grimnosh
Youngling
Posts: 124
Joined: 2010-07-20 08:35am
Location: San Antonio, TX

Re: Sparks From the Edge (40K/BT)

Post by Grimnosh » 2013-04-17 12:53pm

Thinking on the space fighting capabilities, I would think that once the bandit king gets back (presuming he survives the years with the other bandit leader) he's going to be in for a surprise.

While the battlebarge is not going to be operational, the thunderhawks should be a nasty surprise for him as their capabilities would be completely unknown to his forces. Overall I'd say they would give his aerospace fighters a strong fight (thunderhawks are transports not true fighters, but the advanced technology the Imperium has should give them more of the edge, plus they have a good bit of firepower and armor available to them) and would be very nasty to their drop and jumpships, especially with the turbolaser or battlecannon and hellstrike missiles.
You know, its remarkably easy to feed an undead army if all you have are just enemies....

User avatar
Academia Nut
Sith Devotee
Posts: 2598
Joined: 2005-08-23 10:44pm
Location: Edmonton, Alberta

Re: Sparks From the Edge (40K/BT)

Post by Academia Nut » 2013-04-21 08:22pm

Chapter Twelve

For Byron Felix, staring up at the holographically projected image of the invaders' Emperor had become a remarkably common occurrence that bore absolutely no meaning for him. It was something to look at in a half drunken haze, a way to fill the time in between eating, sleeping, and digging ditches. It certainly beat thinking, because thinking just brought up unpleasant memories. There were several others in the converted church who seemed to be about in the same way.

Time had lost all meaning for Byron when someone who he had never expected to see again sat down in the pew next to him and asked, "So you've discovered religion, have you?"

One half of his brain running at a different speed from the other, Byron slurred out, "I suppose so." Then the other half caught up with him and he exclaimed, "Lucas!"

"You know, you were remarkably difficult to track down," Lucas replied with a cheeky grin.

His head rattling about with the fuzz of alcohol and scrambled memories and emotions, Byron asked, "What are you doing here?"

"Looking for you," Lucas replied with a shrug.

Not all of his brain running at the same speed, Byron blurted out, "Why?"

"Well, the fact I want to thank you for standing up to your father is a bit of a major detail I need to clear up," Lucas pointed out in a friendly tone.

"Oh. Right. Well, you don't really need to thank me..." Byron mumbled.

Lucas raised a sceptical eyebrow and asked, "Now where is the sense in that?"

Stumbling over his own words, Byron said, "You... you didn't see what happens when you anger the Imperials."

"I've seen plenty in the past few weeks," Lucas replied.

"Did you get caught in a riot, watching innocent people get shot and trampled? Did you watch a man in a black coat jump out of a second story window and land on a headless corpse? God... or the face of their soldiers?" Byron listed off, tears of repressed horror, disgust, and fear leaking unbidden from his eyes.

"What happened that night? You came back to the shop smelling of smoke and blood and looking so distraught and frantic, and the first thing you do when your poppa says he wants to defy the new law about releasing the slaves is completely freak out at him," Lucas asked.

"I... I was walking home. The Imperials had started up this party thing but I didn't want to stick around very long, when all of a sudden this shooting starts. People start panicking and running and I didn't know which was which. Everything gets all confused and I have no idea which way I'm actually going when suddenly I'm shoved into a wrecked house and on the ground and someone grabs me and I'm looking up at this grim faced man and... and then I looked into the face of... I don't know what. It scared me. It was like a person, like a woman, but the flesh was waxy and dead and fused with metal in parts and the eyes were unblinking lights. It was like a machine wearing the face of a woman, but the man seemed to treat it... her... like a person. There was then chaos and confusion, they got me to round people up to fight the fires. The man who had grabbed me and his... assistant I guess you could call her, they went and wiped out the people who had been shooting. I came back just in time to see the black coated man ride a headless corpse out of an exploding building. It was the most horrifying, terrifying thing I had ever seen... and then he told the medics to help all the people who had been injured, starting with the civilians, and the soldiers obeyed. And... and I knew that father would try to keep you, and that they would do the same to him, and... and... I, well, some of it was that I never liked how he treated you, but I could see his body tumbling out of that burning building instead and I couldn't have that and... fuck, I need a drink," Byron let loose in a torrent of words, half slurred and stuttered while tears leaked from his eyes and snot from his nose.

Placing a comforting hand on his shoulder, Lucas said, "You've always been a good son, and a good friend, even if we were never equals."

Wiping his face on a dusty and dirty sleeve so that he simply made the mess worse, Byron asked, "So what have you been up to?"

Lucas shrugged and said, "I could ask you the same."

"Drinking, sitting here, and digging ditches," Byron replied.

Lucas frowned before he said, "Damn, I guess I already got the big story out of you. Well, I don't know how much you know about the streets out there, but the Imperials aren't happy. Most people are trying to keep their heads down, to not draw attention, but they keep prowling the streets, broadcasting about changes in the law or how essential supplies are on ration because of damage to stocks from rioting or lack of cooperation from the landowners. I don't think anyone knows how to deal with them. They're so angry, but they're not lashing out, not like everyone expects. They drag people out into the streets, but they don't go on rampage. It's terrifying. No one knows how to act around them... well, no one who isn't a smooth talker like myself."

Byron snorted painfully but said with a smile, "Remember when you talked Eriksson up from the 600 to the 577?"

Chuckling with the memory, Lucas said, "I do indeed. I also remember him coming back with a busted shoulder and thanking your father for an excellent purchase. Don't get that sort from the nobby types too often. But yeah, I've been working the good old Lucas charm with the newcomers. Oh, most of the time I'm just helping move their shit out of their ships - they have their own weird shuttle things instead of the DropShip these days actually - but I keep my ear open and know how to sweet talk the right sorts. Talk filters down from the higher ups to the junior officers and the sergeants that I come into contact with, and apparently they're getting irritated. People are confused by their behaviour, but they are also confused. They want us to do something, what exactly I'm not quite sure of since no one I can get a hold of knows either. What I do know is that they're changing their game."

"Oh?" Byron asked.

"Yeah. I was moving some crates and I found out that they are bringing in machinery. Apparently they haven't been getting enough buy in from most of the middle class producers and artisans - your father being a prime example - so they are willing to just give people the tools they need to make the things they want. Which is, aside from wanting to thank you, the reason I have tracked you down," Lucas explained.

Byron looked at him and then said, "Really? I mean, come on, look at me!"

"You'll sober up, and you inherited all of your father's skills and none of his personal deficiencies so you'll be able to make a fortune. With the tools being offered we can easily set up a company, and I've heard that any craftsman that gets a look at their licensed designs never wants to build anything else ever again," Lucas explained.

Byron thought about this for a moment before he asked, "We?"

"Yeah, we. I know most people aren't particularly fond of the sons of the people who owned them, but I know you're different, and besides, it would be an absolute waste if you squandered your talents drunk off your ass in here. Now, I know that when it comes to actually working with the tools I'm really only an assistant, but I can do that, and I can also handle the business end of things, which I know that you aren't particularly fond of. So come on, what do you say? Partners?" Lucas said, offering his hand to Byron.

Glancing between Lucas' hand and face for a moment and really wishing that he weren't quite so drunk or hungover at the moment, Byron grabbed the hand of the man he had tried to treat as more than a thing for so many years and he shook it as equals. It felt remarkably natural and correct, and he had to take a glance up at the hologram of the golden man who had somehow made this moment possible. The preacher and his god who had been in this building before had never had a word to say to him.

---

Having taken a day to sober up with Lucas' help, Byron found himself following in the wake of the more enthusiastic redhead to the squat warehouse by the spaceport that served as the licensing station for the Imperials. The building was a heavy ferrocrete structure built before the fall of the near-mythical Star League so many centuries ago, and had weathered countless storms, both natural and human. In its current incarnation as a minor industrial facility it had been decorated with a golden two-headed eagle and a large, two-coloured cogwheel with some sort of two-faced human skull-robot head in the centre. Soldiers were posted around the perimeter and there were only a few locals, who seemed almost embarrassed to be seen entering the premises, but otherwise it was an open enough place.

Entering the front doors, Byron blinked at the creature sitting at the desk. It was probably a man, and if it wasn't then it almost certainly had been human at one point, but it looked like someone had shoved a 'Mech computer onto its back and wired up the poor bastard's skull with power cables. Taping away rapid fire at a terminal with hands that had too many fingers, it looked up at the entrance of the two young men and asked, "Do you have business?"

"We would like to try out for a licensing deal. We don't have any tools of our own, but I understand that there is a new lend-lease agreement for such things for people who show appropriate aptitudes," Lucas stated, a broad smile on his face.

The half-mechanical creature considered this for a moment while frowning before he said in the peculiar accent of the invaders, "This is correct, although we have yet to formally advertise it. Where did you learn such things?"

"Oh, here and there. I help out at the spaceport," Lucas explained while scrupulously not giving away any exact details.

"I shall have to issue a letter of complaint then. But very well. Skill set?" The man asked.

"My friend here is a skilled machinist, a gunsmith to be precise, and I know how to assist him," Lucas explained.

"Very well. Before we go any further you are required to give an imprint for our records. You will be given an approved pattern to replicate using our tools, but the pattern is proprietary so if you begin producing the design outside of approved, licensed channels then there shall be dire consequences," the bureaucrat, for that was what they had realised the man truly was, explained as he pulled out a pair of transparent plastic wafers.

"Do we sign these?" Lucas asked, glancing at them sceptically.

"Simply place your right thumb on one and press down hard," the man explained. Upon compliance with the instructions, both Lucas and Byron hissed in irritated pain, and when they pulled their hands away they found that they had left bright red thumb-prints in the plastic, although their thumbs didn't look bloody, just slightly raw.

"Names?" The bureaucrat asked.

"Byron Felix."

"Lucas... uh... crap... no wait, that's not my last name. Lucas Felix, let's go with that," Lucas replied, grinning cheerily at a gobsmacked Byron. Shrugging he said, "Sorry, but your old man had a bigger part in raising me than my own mother."

"Thanks for making me feel better about my family," Byron grumbled in pained irritation and horror. He had forgotten how much he had forgotten about the hell his father had put Lucas through.

"Very well. Pass through the third door on the right. A trusted member of the laity of the Adeptus Mechanicus shall be there to assess your skills. If you are deemed adequate then there will be more paperwork to fill out afterward," the bureaucrat explained, gesturing dismissively down a hallway.

Following the somewhat vague directions, Lucas opened the door to a small office space with a few filing cabinets on one side and a tool bench on the other, with a large table in the middle and a few chairs spread out. A man in grey robes with rusty trim was carefully examining some sort of mechanism with a loupe. Seeing the two men come in, he carefully set what he was working on down and asked in a rough accent, "Test?"

"We are here for the test. Hello, my name is Lucas and this is my associate Byron," Lucas proclaimed, offering a hand in greeting, while Byron nodded in agreement.

The man blinked owlishly and stared at the hand before he asked, "What good at?"

Bringing his hand back and continuing on like he had never offered it, Lucas said, "Byron here is an excellent gunsmith, while I am his able assistant and business partner."

"Guns? Kind?" The man asked, an annoyed look on his face indicating that he was irritated with Lucas' speech.

"Large bore rifles, mostly," Byron supplied.

"Rifle gun? Good, good," the man said as he went over to one of the filing cabinets and pulled out a large black case. Placing it on the table, he then pulled out an ornate brass-work stopwatch and clicked it and said, "Begin."

Going to the case, Byron flipped it open and found a collection of parts in unlabelled pouches and containers and a stack of blueprints. Looking through them, Byron found that while all of the parts were clearly indicated, nothing had any numbering or names. He then boggled in realization at what he was looking at.

"Holy... holy shit Lucas! Look at this! I mean, just, wow! That's just... I mean, holy shit! That would let you shave 20% off the weight of the bolt without compromising anything," Byron exclaimed as he pointed out one of the subtle little tricks that the blueprints were littered with. History was replete with tiny examples of things that were utterly obvious in retrospect but could elude the best artisans and scientists for decades or even centuries, hiding just under their noses. These blueprints didn't have that sort of thing once or even twice, but dozens of times. Byron boggled at it all. He wondered if this might be what a gunsmith back on Earth before the age of spaceflight might have done had he been able to see modern firearms design.

Sitting down in the chair, Byron carefully spread out the blueprints while he glanced over at Lucas and said imperiously, "Start opening up the containers and organizing the parts. Make a pile for anything you don't know separate from the rest."

Smirking slightly, Lucas said, "Awfully pushy there, boss."

Blushing, Byron spluttered, "I was so used to... I mean I didn't mean... err..."

"Relax, I just don't want you looking down on me like your father did," Lucas replied cheerfully as he went about doing what Byron asked. He then said, "Just so long as you are my assistant when it comes to marketing, I think we can call it fair."

"Sure," Byron asked as he buried his nose in the blueprints in embarrassment. He quickly enough sorted out what order things had to be assembled in and found tools and parts appearing in his hands. Smiling up at Lucas, he also marvelled at the mechanisms coming together in his hands. The materials were remarkably light, but tough enough that he didn't feel like he would damage them like he might with some of the lighter metals he had used for certain parts before.

Picking up the barrel, Byron carefully sighted down its length and then frowned. Looking over at the test proctor, Byron said, "This isn't right." Remembering that the man had issues with English, he said, "I need lathe. Lathe to fix."

Opening up the file cabinet that he had taken the case out of, he pulled out a near identical barrel component and traded it for the incorrect component, carefully placing it back in the drawer. Examining the newly provided barrel, Byron looked it over and said, "Thank you."

"What was wrong with it?" Lucas asked as Byron went back over all of his prior work to see if he could find any other deficiencies.

"The outer diameter was too wide by about half a millimetre," Byron explained as he found his previous work satisfactory. "It would have fit, but the seals would have been off. I could probably hammer it into something that would work, but it would never sit right and that would greatly increase the chance of a jam, fouling, and would wear half the parts out twice as fast as they should."

Continuing the careful job of assembling everything, Byron found several other parts with minor mismatches that he knew he could fix easily enough with a full set of tools but that the proctor simply swapped out for a correctly sized version. It seemed that his ability to detect such things was a part of the test. Time melted away, and before he knew it Byron had a fully assembled large calibre battle rifle in his hands. Actually, more properly he had a light machine gun that could be fired while standing and have it not serve as an anti-aircraft gun after firing the first bullet.

Taking it, the proctor looked it over a few times before he smiled and said, "You first one to get all." He then did something exceedingly strange when he set the weapon down on the table, spread out his fingers over his chest while hooking together his thumbs and pinkies, and bowed to the weapon, muttering something in his own language.

He then ushered Byron and Lucas out of the room and brought them back to the bureaucrat. The two of them exchanged a rapid fire exchange of words in their language, at which the bureaucrat said, "Your contribution has been noted and qualifies you, Byron Felix, to work as a gunsmith for the Imperium of Man, and full access to small arms weapon licenses. Your work today counts as a down payment towards a loan for the purchase of tools, equipment, and if necessary a work space. If any materials cannot be sourced locally then they will be supplied at the start of a commission, but their cost shall be subtracted from the final price paid at the end. Everything is detailed within the contracts." At that bureaucrat pulled out a rather large stack of paper and thumped them down upon the desk in front of Lucas and Byron.

"Give me a second to read through this," Lucas replied, holding up a hand as he began to flip through the pages of very small print.

"I don't know if I can ever make another gun without plagiarizing what I saw in those blueprints," Byron said, feeling a little faint as the ecstasy of an enthralling job faded.

"Yeah, but I want to make sure that the loan and everything is actually worth taking. We might want to do some day work and make some money so that we don't have to take a loan... damn those are good rates! Huh... well, let me keep looking," Lucas explained as he fell off into muttering as his eyes continued to scan the documents. It seemed that years of Byron's father being a lazy ass and fobbing paperwork over to Lucas had actually paid off.

Byron smiled faintly. He wasn't sure what the future would hold, but for the first time in a long time he felt that it might actually be okay.
I love learning. Teach me. I will listen.
You know, if Christian dogma included a ten-foot tall Jesus walking around in battle armor and smashing retarded cultists with a gaint mace, I might just convert - Noble Ire on Jesus smashing Scientologists

User avatar
MondoMage
Padawan Learner
Posts: 195
Joined: 2009-09-17 12:53pm

Re: Sparks From the Edge (40K/BT)

Post by MondoMage » 2013-04-21 08:54pm

Academia Nut wrote:"The outer diameter was too wide by about half a millimetre," Byron explained as he found his previous work satisfactory.
He visually identified a discrepancy of half a millimeter?? I've always heard that a difference as small as 1/16 of an inch could be detected by someone who knows what they're doing, but that's three times as large as what Byron just spotted. Boy's got some damn good eyes. The Imperium got themselves a bargain, I think.

User avatar
D.Turtle
Jedi Council Member
Posts: 1909
Joined: 2002-07-26 08:08am
Location: Bochum, Germany

Re: Sparks From the Edge (40K/BT)

Post by D.Turtle » 2013-04-22 02:52pm

If you have something to compare it too, half a millimeter is humongous.

Using a straight-edge you can see discrepancies on a micrometer range.

User avatar
Academia Nut
Sith Devotee
Posts: 2598
Joined: 2005-08-23 10:44pm
Location: Edmonton, Alberta

Re: Sparks From the Edge (40K/BT)

Post by Academia Nut » 2013-04-22 05:08pm

Yeah, it was a combination of experienced fingers feeling that something was off, a keen eye, the way things were not quite fitting, and most importantly access to tools. The incorrect parts thing is a test to see if you actually know what you are doing and can identify bad parts instead of just jamming them in there.
I love learning. Teach me. I will listen.
You know, if Christian dogma included a ten-foot tall Jesus walking around in battle armor and smashing retarded cultists with a gaint mace, I might just convert - Noble Ire on Jesus smashing Scientologists

moglwi
Redshirt
Posts: 23
Joined: 2012-11-10 11:31am

Re: Sparks From the Edge (40K/BT)

Post by moglwi » 2013-04-22 05:31pm

How are the Imps dealing with all this arcotech?

User avatar
MondoMage
Padawan Learner
Posts: 195
Joined: 2009-09-17 12:53pm

Re: Sparks From the Edge (40K/BT)

Post by MondoMage » 2013-04-22 06:33pm

Academia Nut wrote:Yeah, it was a combination of experienced fingers feeling that something was off, a keen eye, the way things were not quite fitting, and most importantly access to tools. The incorrect parts thing is a test to see if you actually know what you are doing and can identify bad parts instead of just jamming them in there.
The impression I got was that he just eyeballed the barrel and realized something was off. Not tools or measurements or straightedges, just a good old look down the barrel. I've done it plenty enough times looking (all too often in vain) for a straight 2-by-4 at the hardware store, but that's a bit of a larger scale.

Sounds like the Imps are adjusting their approach to suit the lay of the land, so to speak. It's working for them in this case. I wonder how often that will happen? And what will happen in those cases when it doesn't...

User avatar
PainRack
Emperor's Hand
Posts: 7282
Joined: 2002-07-07 03:03am
Location: Singapura

Re: Sparks From the Edge (40K/BT)

Post by PainRack » 2013-04-23 02:25am

Some comments regarding Btech culture, although I saw your comments over in SB as well.

1. Is the pirates planet based on an internal slave economy or a raiding one? There's nothing wrong with mixing archetypes, but I would like to know it better. If the later, especially where slaves are captured, then your explaination for why the workers preferred to stay low and hide doesn't work that well.

2. Byran would had saw nothing wrong with the Adeptus attempts at prayer, well, unless he recognise its actual theological meaning. The rituals of the Battletech scavenger economy has introduced its own mysticism into tech support, up to "hear me baby, hold together" pep talk.
And even here, if he has seen Comstar before, it wouldn't be a shock.

3. The last was what struck me as weird though. Wouldn't the actual act of assembling the gun be restricted to Adeptus Mechanicus, or the TechMarine Serf crew due to their own theological restrictions?
Let him land on any Lyran world to taste firsthand the wrath of peace loving people thwarted by the myopic greed of a few miserly old farts- Katrina Steiner

User avatar
Vehrec
Jedi Council Member
Posts: 2204
Joined: 2006-04-22 12:29pm
Location: The Ohio State University
Contact:

Re: Sparks From the Edge (40K/BT)

Post by Vehrec » 2013-04-23 09:16am

I can answer 3 for you-The Adeptus Mechanicus is a mystery cult, but not all mysteries are created equal. On many worlds, the Ad Mech licenses and gives manufacturing permits for simple machines, basic arms, and even tanks. The Leman Rus is, for instance, produced on many hive worlds. The Hive World of Armageddon even produces enough Chimeras of a distinct design that Armageddon Pattern is now standardized. Similarly, auto and even lasguns might be turned out on an Imperial world to arm the local militia, but the Governer's plasma pistol, that is drawn from a Forge World.

From a more practical standpoint, there just aren't enough tech-adepts to make the build these designs. It's a task that is practically made to be out-sourced, especially since Auto-guns are one of those things that STCs of seem to have survived or been rebuilt for everywhere in the galaxy. There is, from their point of view, no secrets here.
ImageCommander of the MFS Darwinian Selection Method (sexual)

User avatar
Academia Nut
Sith Devotee
Posts: 2598
Joined: 2005-08-23 10:44pm
Location: Edmonton, Alberta

Re: Sparks From the Edge (40K/BT)

Post by Academia Nut » 2013-04-23 11:13am

PainRack wrote:Some comments regarding Btech culture, although I saw your comments over in SB as well.

1. Is the pirates planet based on an internal slave economy or a raiding one? There's nothing wrong with mixing archetypes, but I would like to know it better. If the later, especially where slaves are captured, then your explaination for why the workers preferred to stay low and hide doesn't work that well.

2. Byran would had saw nothing wrong with the Adeptus attempts at prayer, well, unless he recognise its actual theological meaning. The rituals of the Battletech scavenger economy has introduced its own mysticism into tech support, up to "hear me baby, hold together" pep talk.
And even here, if he has seen Comstar before, it wouldn't be a shock.

3. The last was what struck me as weird though. Wouldn't the actual act of assembling the gun be restricted to Adeptus Mechanicus, or the TechMarine Serf crew due to their own theological restrictions?
1.) Both. The pirates raid for resources and technology off-world for the most part, although they will take slaves if they have room in their holds when they are on a leg back to a trade world, or if a particular individual takes the fancy of a particular pirate. They cull slaves from their own population for both internal usage on plantations and for sale off world. The internal culls have been growing since the fall of the Star League and have greatly accelerated in the past generation as the pirates gear has been falling apart and they no longer have the internal industry to properly maintain their Mechs so they have been siphoning off their population to pay for off world repairs and to reduce the number of people that they have to police with increasingly limited supplies.

2.) ComStar has never had a presence on Veasna, and the intensity of the religious expression was what was particularly odd

3.) Vehrec mostly answered this, but there are entire trade guilds that have millennia old licensing agreements with the AdMech for everything from guns to parts to tanks to cybernetics, depending on the technological development of the wolrd. The AdMech simply can't compare to the manpower of the Imperial Hives and thus they outsource a tremendous amount of labour.
I love learning. Teach me. I will listen.
You know, if Christian dogma included a ten-foot tall Jesus walking around in battle armor and smashing retarded cultists with a gaint mace, I might just convert - Noble Ire on Jesus smashing Scientologists

User avatar
Academia Nut
Sith Devotee
Posts: 2598
Joined: 2005-08-23 10:44pm
Location: Edmonton, Alberta

Re: Sparks From the Edge (40K/BT)

Post by Academia Nut » 2013-04-28 11:39pm

Chapter Thirteen

The primary shrine to the Omnissiah on the Dirge of Heresy was a dark, secluded place that was utterly unwelcoming to outsiders. For those blessed with the proper implants, the shrine shone brightly in the noosphere, great cascading waterfalls of data and electro-hymns that gave great praises to the glory and teachings of the Machine God. Wireframe holograms visible only in the minds of the adepts spun serenely in the air, showing off intricate designs for those in attendance to meditate upon.

Today there were many in attendance with much to meditate upon, as all of the Techpriests and Techmarines were in attendance for a conclave meeting to discuss the technology of the world they had found themselves upon. Six months into the process and they had made enough progress that they were now ready to discuss a request from outside their order. The noospheric representation of the primary point of discussion for today had taken up the central position within the shrine, and soothing hymns in Binary were offered up to the spirit of the design.

"Praise and glory to you, General Electric 6000 Series Municipal Fusion Reactor! May your power bring light to dark places! Glory be to the Omnissiah! Glory be to you!" Rune Priest Wilanders proclaimed, finishing out his song to the reactor, completing the ritual praises and letting the other reactor schematics they had compiled from the world to move in from the edges of the shrine so as to orbit the largest and most powerful of the reactor designs. A flurry of noospheric icons flashed briefly, indicating the approval of those in attendance, the Adeptus Mechanicus equivalent of polite applause.

"Thank you Rune Priest. Your composition was most appropriate in its orthodoxy," Magos Physic Chenarc, elected head of the Adeptus Mechanicus on Veasna stated, and there was a flicker of approval from the section reserved for the Techmarines. Chenarc's noospheric corona flammae flared slightly with pride at their approval, but only just slightly as he quickly suppressed the emotional response as being too emotional. His position was dependent upon the fact that Senior Techmarine Galen had agreed with Captain Maximus and Inquisitor Kennard that the split loyalties of the Techmarines meant that they should not take direct leadership roles of the local Adeptus Mechanicus.

To his left, the other person who could threaten his position gave an almost imperceptible tilt of his head and sent a private message that said, "You'll appear weak if you keep seeming to need their constant approval."

A portion of his organic brain generated the impulse to grind his teeth in frustration, but fortunately Chenarc no longer had teeth to grind at the subtle barbs of Magos Biologis Xentares, the most senior Magos aboard the Dirge but voluntarily not the new leader due to the nature of his specialization. Instead of letting his irritation grow, Chenarc activated an artificial gland and immediately felt the illogic of emotion bleed away. The entire exchange had taken a fraction of a second, and so the majority in attendance would not have noticed it. Raising his hands, Chenarc instead allowed a recording of the request by Captain Maximus to enter the noosphere for general circulation and consideration.

The Captain's face appeared in the multi-spectral view taken by Chenarc's sophisticated optics and said, "Our scouts have found more reactor sites across the planet, most of which appear to be old vehicle reactors being used to power settlements, but some appear to be like the ones we found in the capital only decommissioned or stripped for parts. We want to be able to build industry on this world that is not dependent upon your lathes, but that requires power. I don't want to commit any blasphemies against the Machine God, but would it be possible to get an early ruling on the usage of the power generators on this world?"

A low level of data conversation went on among the adepts for a few moments after the file finished disseminating, but Chenarc made a pulse of pure tone and then said, "The examination of the technologies we have discovered has progressed faster than initially expected, but the progress in uplifting the locals has been stalling so I find the Captain's request a reasonable one. The schematics of the reactors in question are all open for examination, but since the secrets of understanding are beyond many of you, I give the floor over to Enginseer Kadda, who has been my key second in this project."

Having been 'sitting' upon her mechadendrites, Kadda levered herself into a standing position and took a moment to scan out over the crowd. She then began to both speak in sacred Binary and weave fresh data into the noosphere. Most of the data was technical detail to support her points, but some of it was also more of the nature of persuasive opinion. She said, "Greetings my fellows, and thank you Magos Physic Chenarc for the opportunity to examine these holy machines, and holy they are, crafted exclusively by men with neither the contamination of filthy xenos or blasphemous Warpcraft anywhere detectable by our most stringent of methods. These reactors are remarkable works of the Omnissiah and a worthy new find in the Quest for Knowledge."

That proclamation generated a stir of information among the adepts, but Chenarc quickly used his administrator privileges to clamp down on the extraneous conversation. He asked, "Enginseer Kadda, please explain for the conclave the nature of this find."

Quickly flashing the icon of acknowledgement, Kadda then began to highlight several graphs of power curves and fuel consumption and comparison standards. She explained, "While ultimately inferior in both absolute power generation and power to mass or power to volume ratios, the fusion reactors we have found are exceptional in their power to technology ratios. These machines require no exotic matter to function, none of their materials involve gravitational manipulation in production, and require absolutely no Warp containment at any point in operation or construction. Their spirits are robust, placid, and eager to serve humanity. In short, these reactors are able to be built and maintained by most civilized worlds in the Imperium and would make excellent replacements for promethium fuelled internal combustion engines."

An excited buzz went up among the crowd, which Chenarc allowed for a moment before he asked, "Logis Macnall, do you have an assessment of the consequences if Enginseer Kadda is correct?"

Summoning to him the info graphics, although that was mostly just for show since he had already run most of the numbers, Logis Macnall quickly manipulated the data and said, "While discovery of the STC these reactors come from is preferable, with just the schematics we have already found if we could return to the Imperium the savings in promethium infrastructure alone would be sufficient to fund the creation of twelve new Forge Worlds, at a minimum."

There was a faint but noticeable buzz in the noosphere that was indicative of various neurological suppression techniques causing bleed through effects. The adepts were all suppressing their desire to express their sudden spike of greed. This also created a spike in a sub-conversation wondering about their exact location. Deciding to quickly address that point, Chenarc asked, "As a quick aside Logis Macnall, have your surveys brought us any closer to determining our location within the universe."

A sour cloud of confused and frustrated data accumulated about Macnall and he replied, "Our holy instruments and navigational databases appear to have been badly damaged in the crash. We are performing a complete rebuild and reconsecration, due to the nature of the nonsensical results the Machine Spirits have been telling us." Chenarc took careful note of how much was not being said but decided to file further investigation into the matter away until later. "We may be forced to fabricate new telescopes and perform a manual survey. The task may take years at this rate."

"Have the locals any star charts to compare to your results?" Kadda inquired in the momentary lull of the discussion. "Once properly translated into an appropriate form surely they should be of some use, even if only for the local area."

The code around Macnall seethed with righteous anger and he said, "Unfortunately the former rulers of this world deliberately destroyed all knowledge of their location in the universe, wiping it from the minds of the Machine Spirits under their dominion and burning it from their physical archives. The only star charts they have are likely aboard their ship as navigational data, which is out of our reach until they return."

There was an irritated grumbling among the crowd and one more reason was added to the list of things for which the Adeptus Mechanicus was standing in line with the rest of the Adeptus to inflict horrible retribution upon the pirates. The destruction of knowledge was an unforgiveable sin in their eyes, and hoarding it was something that anyone that was not them could not do.

"Then we shall have to continue with our assumptions that we shall be out of contact with the Imperium for many decades," Chenarc replied, bringing a melancholy colour to the side conversations. "In light of the data present, do the members of the conclave have anything they wish to add to the conversation?"

Artisan Tyllena, head of the machine shops that fabricated and maintained the gear and munitions for the Astartes, unexpectedly spoke up and said, "The reactors have not been the only request Captain Maximus has made of late."

Chenarc shot Tyllena an irritated private message and said, "Not the time!"

A ping a moment later from Galen had his message attached as a forward with an appended, "Let this proceed," on the end. Chenarc glowered for a moment, tempted to use his override, but instead he said to the conclave, "Can you explain the relevance of bringing this issue up now in relation with the purpose for which we have been called here today?"

"Captain Maximus has made... uncomfortable... requests of me and my subordinates. He has asked if there is any way we could produce designs for vehicles for use by non-Astartes, but the roles asked are impossible with our current patterns. In light of his previous behaviour, I question the orthodoxy of his current request," Tyllena explained.

"The orthodoxy of prior request has no logical bearing on the orthodoxy of this request," Macnall stated scornfully.

"He is not a logical being and his behaviour is indicative of one whose decisions must be weighed as a whole rather than individually," Tyllena snapped back, the code around her tinged with irritated red.

Logis Macnall considered this for a moment before he replied, "A not unfair assessment of Captain Maximus' behaviour, but the overall logic of his requests are sound, even if some of them venture into unorthodoxy."

Speaking up publicly for the first time, Magos Biologis Xentares said, "It occurs to me that you bring this subject up not out of concern for orthodoxy, but because you wish to take this opportunity to tie together subjects. I do believe that you wish to ask this conclave to attach a price for its decision. You want us to ask Captain Maximus to back off on his requests of your lathes in exchange for making an early ruling on an individual piece of technology."

Data and code rippled in irritated shock throughout the shrine as the canny old biologist cut to the heart of the matter. Tyllena stared up at Xentares for a moment before she said, "You understand nothing of the matter, Magos Biologis Xentares."

"I remind Artisan Tyllena of her place in the hierarchy of things, especially since she is structuring her arguments in the logic of orthodoxy," Chenarc stated, the reminder flags he tossed Tyllena's way practically a growl in noospheric conversation.

"Apologies Magos Biologis Xentares and Magos Physic Chenarc," Tyllena replied, suitably chastised.

"Can we consider this matter resolved for the purposes of today's conversation?" Chenarc asked.

"No," Xentares replied, causing a mass of message buffer refreshes to check that he had actually said that. Xentares then continued on and said, "While her argument was flawed, I do believe that her motivation in forwarding it to ask for concessions from Captain Maximus is of value. There are numerous fusion reactors on this planet and several hydroelectric dams that provide power generation for the locals. These installations are necessary for our continued survival and growth, and we do not have the numbers to adequately maintain them without local support. Logic dictates that the best way to advance the purpose of the Omnissiah is to grant permission of those not fully indoctrinated into the Machine Cult to work, maintain, and even build these devices, which we all must admit we are eager to do when we return to the Imperium. However, logic also dictates that since the Captain does not know what we know and is willing to defer to us on this issue, we would be recommended to extract concessions from him."

There was a long silence before Galen said, "Magos Biologis Xentares, your ideas border upon the treasonous."

"Senior Techmarine Galen, do they?" Xentares asked. "The rest of the Imperium depends much more strongly upon the Adeptus Mechanicus than we do upon the rest of the Imperium. A strong Mechanicus is a strong Imperium. I do not propose we rob our allies blind, but I am suggesting that we do not give something for nothing and that we work our better understanding of the prices involved to our advantage. Actually, I have been made aware of some of the requests Captain Maximus has made, and frankly his demands are reasonable once you factor in that it is our ignorance that makes them border on the heretical."

"Since you are leading the discussion now, what do you propose Magos Biologis Xentares?" Chenarc asked with exceeding care. He had to either let Xentares dig his own grave in front of the conclave or position himself to capitalize upon this.

"I say we take advantage of the Captain's willingness to make concessions to us because of the theological awkwardness of his requests. There are ways that we can avoid the heresy of innovation to cover over our own gaps in knowledge," Xentares stated.

"You propose recombination," Galen interrupted bluntly.

"Lesser Forge Worlds have been known to generate patterns using the scraps of knowledge they do have when they are lacking the licenses to proper STC designs," Xentares pointed out.

"We are not a Forge World," Galen replied.

Feeling a strange thrill that he likened to vertigo, Chenarc stated, "I understand Magos Biologis Xentares' logic now. You wish to use these issues to press for permission from the Captain and the Inquisitor to found a new Forge World."

Absolute silence reigned for a long time until Galen said, "This may actually solve some of our problems."

Pulling up old data files, Chenarc stated, "There is a long history of Explorator fleets separated by Warp storms establishing Forge Worlds, stretching back to before the foundation of the Imperium and our alliance with it. The presence of the Dirge makes this world too sacred to the Survivors for them to ever turn it over to the exclusive rule of the Adeptus Mechanicus, but there are many worlds out there."

"Local records indicate and our own short range scopes confirm that there is a rocky world within this system that could be made suitable for a production facility. It has a thin atmosphere of simple gases and large areas of frozen ice and carbon dioxide, but more importantly it is within range of a gas giant with a large number of Trojan asteroids at the L4 and L5 points," Manall stated, supplying the relevant data.

"I propose that we ask for permission to begin the raising of a regiment of Tech Guard as compensation for our decision on the reactors, since we will be spreading our resources thin and will need a force of indoctrinated soldiers to properly guard our technology. At the same time we bring up the idea of founding a Forge World, even if just in name, so that we might be able to smooth over some theological issues," Xentares said.

Chenarc considered this for a time before he said, "I personally am approving of this idea, but I will veto it right away if I do not have the approval of the Techmarines, as for everything else you are still the senior representatives of the Omnissiah on this world."

There was a quick buzz of private conversation between the Techmarines before Galen stated, "A Forge World would create a greater distinction between the Adeptus Mechanicus and the Space Marines, reducing the complexity of the system we are building here. I shall back you when you go to speak with Maximus."

"Very well then. Does anyone have an argument against today's findings?" Chenarc asked the conclave, to which the noosphere remained silent, and he closed down all remaining open files before he announced, "Then the findings of the conclave shall be recorded and done. Rune Priest Wilanders please lead us in prayer to the Omnissiah for guiding us to these logical conclusions."

As the noosphere began to fill with prayers and chants, Chenarc glanced over at Xentares and considered what the elder Magos was truly up to. His informers had clearly be focusing upon the wrong things, and he suspected to the point of certainty that Artisan Tyllena had not spoken out randomly. It was clear that he needed to step up his own game of intrigue. Of course, Xentares had to know that Chenarc would know that, so he too would spin his own webs more skillfully.

Oh, the games played in service of the Omnissiah.
I love learning. Teach me. I will listen.
You know, if Christian dogma included a ten-foot tall Jesus walking around in battle armor and smashing retarded cultists with a gaint mace, I might just convert - Noble Ire on Jesus smashing Scientologists

User avatar
Grimnosh
Youngling
Posts: 124
Joined: 2010-07-20 08:35am
Location: San Antonio, TX

Re: Sparks From the Edge (40K/BT)

Post by Grimnosh » 2013-04-30 01:56pm

Academia Nut wrote:Chapter Thirteen
Oh, the games played in service of the Omnissiah.
And pretty much every other branch of government and religion in the Imperium. At least it hasn't devolved into fratricide. Yet.
You know, its remarkably easy to feed an undead army if all you have are just enemies....

User avatar
Academia Nut
Sith Devotee
Posts: 2598
Joined: 2005-08-23 10:44pm
Location: Edmonton, Alberta

Re: Sparks From the Edge (40K/BT)

Post by Academia Nut » 2013-05-22 01:18am

Well that was a crappy bit of writer's block.

---

Chapter Fourteen

Inquisitor Kennard was not the sort of man who considered himself excessively cruel. Deliberately cruel most certainly, but always out of necessity and always in careful dosages. It was far easier to do his job when people were cooperative, and most sane people opened up much faster when they knew that there were ways to avoid the pain that would occur if they just started talking, and all too often the insane simply enjoyed torture. There were, however, days when he badly wanted to engage in simple, base violence and sadism for no better reason than to relieve some of his accumulated stress.

Today was one of those days, but sadly he could not properly vent his wrath on the root causes, as they were already dead. He was however toying with seeing if he could locate the graves of some of the old rulers, dig up the corpses and start kicking the bones around just to express his disgust with the management of this world. He was quashing the idea mostly because it was rather petty, and as a member of His Imperial Majesty's Inquisition he had to be above such things as pettiness. Or at least public pettiness.

Of course, his acolytes were not the public and thus Zeketrina took one look at his expression and said, "The gravesites of the Kings are public knowledge, Lucien."

Frowning at her near psychic capacity to read him, Kennard said with an exasperated sigh, "And I bet we could do it quietly too, but I'm just going to have to wait for the former ruler to return and then do something particularly unpleasant to him. I don't suppose that the Ad Mech has got back to us on whether or not they can make arco-flagellants with what we have on hand?"

"They report that they'll do it in exchange for parts of his brain. Apparently they were impressed by the documents of his actual combat capacity and want to look into using some of the bits as cogitator components," Archimentes reported.

Kennard considered this before he said, "Fair enough I suppose. Are we any further in figuring out how to make the locals as angry as we are at the old order?"

Procyon, normally silent in these meetings, spoke up for once and said, "The undercurrents of emotion are starting to move as the rationing grows steeper. The people are used to hardship, but the flavour is different for them this time. The bellies of the lower classes begin to growl, but we offer food for work and we target the upper classes that are hoarding food."

"Good to hear. At least their mood is starting to turn. Are we any closer to why these people are so frustratingly apathetic?" Kennard asked.

"We have a theory based upon historical records and current observations," Zeketrina replied.

"Do explain," Kennard said as he settled into the analytical mindset that could take the information his savants had already distilled out and start piecing it into the bigger picture. He really wanted the situation on this world to improve so that he could go back to investigation rather than administration, although he suspected it would be decades before that happened.

"From what little imported off-world culture these people retain, most of which is over two centuries old, we can determine that some of the attitude is widespread to this region of space. The military primacy of their BattleMechs and the concentration of their use into the hands of hereditary elites has encouraged an attitude that those who have 'Mechs have all the power and those who do not are helpless against them. The local situation however has additional complexities, in that they have not been completely materially isolated but they have been culturally isolated," Zeketrina detailed out.

Processing it in his mind, Kennard nodded and said, "Material isolation would have either collapsed their economy and forced them to revert to a more primitive technological base, thus robbing the ruling class of its invincibility, or forced them to allow for production of more advanced systems and thus threatened their invincibility once again. They could stagnate without risking total collapse like pretty much any other system."

"Yes, although they were rapidly sliding towards collapse anyway. What little technology they had was breaking down, the skills of their workers were deteriorating, and they did not have the shipping capacity to continually bring in replacements from off world. We expect that had we not arrived the planet would have completely reverted to a pre-industrial level of technology, and over fifty percent of the remaining population would be pre-agricultural," Zeketrina elaborated.

"If the pirates decided to stick around their egos probably would have ballooned even further. Probably call themselves god-kings at that point," Kennard mused disgustedly, before he added on, "Incidentally, how goes the survey of the hunter-gatherer societies spread across the majority of the landscape?"

Harmon Meister, Kennard's personal warrior and bodyguard replied, "Most of them are nomadic herders, but the Survivors are quietly observing them as part of their training. Captain Maximus has requested none of the other Adeptus make any moves on the more primitive cultures until a decision on how to approach has been determined. He feels we can raise a few regiments of light infantry and Rough Riders from the tribes with relative ease so long as we don't botch the first meeting."

"Excellent. I was aware that we were doing something with that, but not the details. I take it that you have been consulted on the issue?" Kennard asked.

"Yes," Meister stated, which was good enough for Kennard. The man never said more than what was needed.

"What will the response be to primitives being recruited for military service?" Kennard asked the rest of his acolytes.

"The most probably response is irritation," Archimentes supplied. "Especially as the limited supply of firearms at the moment means that the low up-take in recruitment means that if we launch a mission within the year and begin recruiting a year from now, then at current rates of production, industrial growth, and recruitment then the primitives would only have to have a 50% higher recruitment rate to make up a simple majority of military forces by the third anniversary of our arrival."

"Good. We need the population irritated and wondering why we're giving choice jobs to people they don't think are worthy of them," Kennard stated. "It is easier to teach a mad dog to obey than to teach a dog that won't bite to attack. We just need to figure out how to get them interested in actually taking us up on our offers."

Kennard was about to ask something else when he noticed that Procyon had a distant look in his eyes indicative of dipping into his powers, which he had reported had been odd in a non-dangerous way since arrival. After a moment he said, "Winds of agitation and surprise whip through the bureaucrats. Someone has approached the building to apply for a job and not immediately retreated."

That got Kennard's attention, and he said, "And this person has not been scared off yet?" The locals spooked easily when confronted with bionics and cybernetics, and many of the administrative personnel on the Dirge had been heavily augmented to improve their performance and limit the number of non-combatants on the ship.

"Negative," Procyon reported.

"Patching us in to the local network," Archimentes replied, activating a hololith and bringing up channels with the various bureaucrats. The channels weren't two-way active yet, but they did indicate that there was an Inquisitor looking over the shoulder, which had a remarkable capacity for sharpening the wits.

The image on the holo was of a young woman, perhaps twenty to twenty-five standard Terran years of age, with remarkably striking looks. Dark hair, tanned and smooth skin, long legs, and curves in all the right places combined into an overall appearance that seemed deliberately sculpted by an expert Genetor to turn the heads of men and women. However, her clothing was decidedly non-flattering and her expression was one of naive gormlessness, indicative of the sort of person with overbearing parents who kept them away from the world. Kennard had to admit that with the previous regime that probably would have been a good policy.

Pressing a button on his desk, Kennard listened in as the woman explained herself. "Well, as I told the man at the front desk, I saw all your posters about jobs and I was wondering what exactly you had?"

Despite the fuzziness of the holographic display, Kennard noted how the bureaucrat kept nervously glancing at her phone on her desk and had to smile a little. Instead of locking up, the woman asked, "Are you literate?"

"My momma taught my brother and I how to read and write," the woman replied earnestly and with absolutely no awareness of how she sounded.

Clearly clamping down on the urge to roll her eyes, the bureaucrat pulled out a small stack of paper and handed them over to the woman and said, "I will need you to fill out these forms. They are an application for employment, a form detailing all prior skills, and an application for a social identification number so that you can be tracked for tax purposes. These need to be filled out in full and in triplicate."

The young woman took the papers and nodded, saying, "Okay."

Considering the situation for a moment, Kennard pressed a button and the bureaucrat picked up her phone in response. She asked, "Yes sir?"

"No matter what she writes, give her the A-38. I want to see what happens," Kennard ordered.

"Of course sir," the woman replied.

The wheels were already turning in Kennard's head. He could play this to his advantage.

---

Gabrielle was having a hard time keeping her smile on in this place, but she had to since her momma had always told her that a woman wouldn't get anywhere with a frown on her face, and since Gabrielle wasn't getting anywhere with a smile she suspected she would go backwards if she started frowning. She didn't really want to be here anyway, she would have much preferred to be back home on the farm, but since momma died it wasn't safe there. Some mean men had tried to stop her from going to market a few weeks ago, asking things of her she didn't rightly understand, but fortunately a bunch of soldiers had run them off.

Momma and her brother had always tried to keep the world away from Gabrielle, but the world had changed and was now coming for her, so she figured that her best option was to do something with the soldiers. She really wasn't very good at much, mostly cooking, cleaning, sewing, and how to work with animals on a farm, but she did know how to read and write. Also, the Imperials were offering food along with money for work, and food was getting more expensive so it was a good idea she figured to see if she could make herself useful.

Unfortunately, she had spent so much time filling out forms that asked for the same things over and over again, and making copies of the same forms, that she was losing her grip on her smile. She had heard from a few other people that no one had ever got a job at this place, that it was always manual labour or the like, and she was starting to wonder if the people advertising for jobs actually wanted anyone to actually be there. Every time she completed one stack of forms, she got directed off to another of the weirdly mechanical people and told to fill out more paperwork. Only twice had she actually talked to someone about a job, and both times she had been directed to go see someone that asked for more paperwork afterward.

She was now sitting in an uncomfortable metal chair trying not to fidget in an unladylike manner while she waited for her third interview. Finally the bare room with only two metal chairs and a table was occupied by a second person, a solidly built man with greying hair but a surprisingly young looking face that was marred on one side by an old injury that looked like it had nearly crushed his head. Still, he wore a nice looking if plain grey coat. Gabrielle made sure to put all of her remaining willpower into brightening her smile to full and she said, "Hello, it's nice to meet you today."

The man sat down in the chair opposite to her with one of the strange computer devices of these people held in his hand and he said, "So I see that you are interested in a job, Miss Camino..."

"Please, call me Gabrielle," she said politely.

"Of course, of course. So, on to the job situation. How do you feel about moving somewhere for a job?" The man asked.

"Well, I already had to give away all my chickens and pigs to leave the farm, so I suppose moving a little further wouldn't be too bad, although it can't be very far because I'm almost out of money," Gabrielle noted.

"Don't worry about money, if we want you to move somewhere we'll just use one of our ships to complete the task," the man stated.

"I don't think you would need to do that for me," Gabrielle noted.

"Well, we have a number of positions that need to be filled on this planet's southern continent, Scythia, and we don't really mind the expense since we need people there," the man explained.

"Oh. I suppose that makes sense. There's not much down there, is there?" Gabrielle asked.

"Not right now, no, it has mostly been left alone, but we see enormous potential in agriculture and mining that just needs to be developed. We just need people down there. Speaking of which, how do you feel about people?" The man asked, a sly look on his face.

"I don't quite understand the question," Gabrielle said in confusion.

"I mean, can you get along with lots of people, talk all day, that sort of thing," the man explained.

Gabrielle thought on the question long and hard before she said, "Well, momma always kept me away from lots of people, but I always enjoyed meeting new ones, so I suppose I would say that I feel good about people."

"And primitive people? There are tribes of nomads on Scythia who tend to be less technologically sophisticated," the man pressed.

"Well, there were some hunter-folk in the woods not too far from the farm, but they never really bothered us so I don't have anything bad to say about people like that," Gabrielle said with some thought.

"Good. So anyway, we have this job in Scythia to work on expanding the development there and convincing the locals that we aren't interested in fighting them. You'll be working long hours and interacting with lots of people, but you will be paid extremely well. What do you say?" The man asked with a smile full of razor blades.

Gabrielle considered the offer for a long time, hesitating in the face of that man's smile before she said, "You know what? Yes, I think I will take that job."

"Excellent," the man said before he reached into his coat and pulled out a golden, stylized I medallion on a chain and said, "Then by the power vested in me by the High Lords of Terra and the Emperor on Earth, I proclaim you Provincial Governor of Scythia. Within the contexts of planetary and Imperial law you have unlimited power to pursue its development, which include but are not limited to the right to raise a militia, the right to petition the Adeptus for aid and resources, and the right to deal with all individuals within your territory as you see fit. You will be given a platoon of troops to serve as your bodyguards and enforcers."

Gabrielle blinked and opened her mouth to say something, but only a squeak came out instead.

The man smiled like a hungry farmer with a knife in one hand and a pig in his sight and said, "You have no assigned quotas for the first five years, but you will be assessed for progress at the end of that time and unsatisfactory progress will be met with consequences. At the end of the probationary period a five year development plan and a set of yearly quotas shall be assigned. Oh, and before you ask the number one question on your mind, the process of resigning from the office is a painfully complex one."

Gabrielle managed to squeak out, "I just wanted to be a secretary!"

"We don't officially have a naming scheme yet, so you can be the Secretary of the Scythian Interior if you want," the man replied with an evil glint in his eye.

"But... but... I have no idea how to run a continent!" Gabrielle wailed.

"You are the most qualified person to apply for the position thus far, and we really need to get it filled. Don't worry though, lots of people in a sink or swim situation find that they can pick up all sorts of remarkable things very quickly. Then again, there might be a selection bias for those sorts of stories," the man told her with excessive cheer.

Gabrielle nodded in defeat. How did this happen?
I love learning. Teach me. I will listen.
You know, if Christian dogma included a ten-foot tall Jesus walking around in battle armor and smashing retarded cultists with a gaint mace, I might just convert - Noble Ire on Jesus smashing Scientologists

User avatar
MondoMage
Padawan Learner
Posts: 195
Joined: 2009-09-17 12:53pm

Re: Sparks From the Edge (40K/BT)

Post by MondoMage » 2013-05-22 05:46am

Academia Nut wrote:"Excellent," the man said before he reached into his coat and pulled out a golden, stylized I medallion on a chain and said, "Then by the power vested in me by the High Lords of Terra and the Emperor on Earth, I proclaim you Provincial Governor of Scythia. Within the contexts of planetary and Imperial law you have unlimited power to pursue its development, which include but are not limited to the right to raise a militia, the right to petition the Adeptus for aid and resources, and the right to deal with all individuals within your territory as you see fit. You will be given a platoon of troops to serve as your bodyguards and enforcers."

Gabrielle blinked and opened her mouth to say something, but only a squeak came out instead.
Well, if they're looking for something to agitate the people who think way to highly of themselves, then this should do the trick. Giving a home-schooled girl with no small amount of naïveté the governorship of an entire continent? It would be even more galling if she winds up doing a decent job of it. Like the man said, getting thrown into the deep end tends to be an excellent teacher.

User avatar
Grimnosh
Youngling
Posts: 124
Joined: 2010-07-20 08:35am
Location: San Antonio, TX

Re: Sparks From the Edge (40K/BT)

Post by Grimnosh » 2013-05-22 11:45am

MondoMage wrote:
Academia Nut wrote:"Excellent," the man said before he reached into his coat and pulled out a golden, stylized I medallion on a chain and said, "Then by the power vested in me by the High Lords of Terra and the Emperor on Earth, I proclaim you Provincial Governor of Scythia. Within the contexts of planetary and Imperial law you have unlimited power to pursue its development, which include but are not limited to the right to raise a militia, the right to petition the Adeptus for aid and resources, and the right to deal with all individuals within your territory as you see fit. You will be given a platoon of troops to serve as your bodyguards and enforcers."

Gabrielle blinked and opened her mouth to say something, but only a squeak came out instead.
Well, if they're looking for something to agitate the people who think way to highly of themselves, then this should do the trick. Giving a home-schooled girl with no small amount of naïveté the governorship of an entire continent? It would be even more galling if she winds up doing a decent job of it. Like the man said, getting thrown into the deep end tends to be an excellent teacher.
Indeed, providing one knows (or at least picks up enough on) how to swim, or possibly gets a decent enough assistant to help out. Considering her options:
She could ask her bodyguard for a bit of advice. Their help would be limited but you can use only what you got and sometimes you can get good advice from the people who will end up on the sharp end if things go wrong.

The Adeptus may have a few copies of "How to Rule for Dummies" she could get if she thinks of it.

As nothing was said of her brother, he may still be alive and if asked would probably go with her to help out as best he can, as his situation is probably no better then hers. It wouldn't be the first time in Imperial history that a ruler was given excellent advice from a relative.
You know, its remarkably easy to feed an undead army if all you have are just enemies....

User avatar
Hawkwings
Sith Devotee
Posts: 3372
Joined: 2005-01-28 09:30pm
Location: USC, LA, CA

Re: Sparks From the Edge (40K/BT)

Post by Hawkwings » 2013-05-28 01:43am

"Most qualified person"

Skills? Can read and write. And work on a farm.

Sure says something about the quality of applicants they've been getting, doesn't it?

Of course the Inquisitor is probably lying, but I can't imagine the truth is too far off. I do want to hear about farmer girl-turned-governess in five years or so, after she's done worryingly well and the ad-mech are concerned. To which the inquisitor will reply "just as planned". This chapter did mention armies comprised mostly of primitives, after all!
Vendetta wrote:Richard Gatling was a pioneer in US national healthcare. On discovering that most soldiers during the American Civil War were dying of disease rather than gunshots, he turned his mind to, rather than providing better sanitary conditions and medical care for troops, creating a machine to make sure they got shot faster.

bilateralrope
Sith Marauder
Posts: 4113
Joined: 2005-06-25 06:50pm
Location: New Zealand

Re: Sparks From the Edge (40K/BT)

Post by bilateralrope » 2013-05-28 01:58am

[quote="Hawkwings"]Sure says something about the quality of applicants they've been getting, doesn't it?

From the sounds of it, she might have been the only candidate. The A-38 sounds like an official designation for just throwing paperwork at someone, which seems a good test for someone who will might be dealing with Imperial bureaucracy.

User avatar
Academia Nut
Sith Devotee
Posts: 2598
Joined: 2005-08-23 10:44pm
Location: Edmonton, Alberta

Re: Sparks From the Edge (40K/BT)

Post by Academia Nut » 2013-05-28 02:24am

Chapter Fifteen

Kenwa Nalten - the Shadow Hidden In Darkness - was hailed by his community as the best scout of his generation. Now, admittedly he was rather young and thus not the best scout in the tribe, but he knew both his skill and his limits, which was why he was trusted with one of the rare repeating rifles and the precious supply of ammunition that had been taken from the vicious Outlanders or traded from their kin. This enormous honour came with enormous responsibilities, such as the dangerous task of patrolling the tribe's territory even when the Outlanders swept in with the changing seasons to hunt men, women, and children like deer.

The past year had however been a strange one, with metal birds crossing the sky with alarming frequency and the Outlanders failing to show up. Stranger yet, during the summer months when the tribe went into the far northern mountains where the ice only half melted under the midnight sun to pan for gold, there had been an intense feeling of presences watching them. Kenwa and the other scouts had hunted for as long and as far as they dared, but the source of the feeling of being watched always remained just out of reach, as if there were ghosts playing with them. The whole affair had spooked them badly enough that they had retreated early rather than continue collecting the valuable trade material.

Continuing the trend of unsettling peculiarities, when the trees to the south had their leaves turn red and the People met with the Herders, the half-Outlander tribes that would trade Outlander equipment for furs and gold, the Herders had been unusually jumpy and had little to trade. Apparently something had happened in the far south to the main settlements of the Outlanders and had disrupted trade across the continent. The tribe had more than enough resources on its own to survive, but their supply of cartridge bullets would dwindle to near nothing by the time they next met to trade, and if there was great upheaval among the Outsiders then that could affect the tribe and they could run out of the vital ammunition in a hurry.

As such when the latest strangeness arrived upon the tribe's border, Kenwa chose to hold his fire three times over. The first reason was to conserve ammunition, the second out of curiosity as to this new disturbance to the order of the world, and the third because he probably would not have fired out of hand in any case because the intruder was not particularly threatening. She was in fact a child, or at best a very young woman. It could be hard to tell because for whatever reason the few Outlander girls Kenwa had seen tended to look two or three years older than they really were.

Carefully circling about the girl, silently shadowing her as she tromped noisily through the woods, Kenwa found that there were no others following her and that she appeared to be genuinely alone, which was not something one tended to see every day. She was wearing cold weather gear, although most of it was left open as it was not yet that cold, and had a large pack strapped to her back. Her pale-copper skin tone said that she was one of the southern Outlanders but the dark hair peeking out from her under her hat had red hues that suggested that one of her ancestors had been from a northern tribe. Tales said that women taken alive by the Outlanders were forced to satisfy their vile lusts, so her being somehow related to the People was not impossible.

Deciding that he had seen enough and that this was not some sort of ambush, Kenwa let out a loud, distinctive whistle that would summon the other scouts in the area. The noise also drew the attention of the girl, although she was so unskilled at stealth and tracking that it was trivial to loop about to her back and call out in the Outlander dialect, "Halt!"

Whirling about in confusion, the girl found herself staring down the barrel of Kenwa's rifle, to which she almost immediately and resignedly raised her hands. Kenwa stared into her dark blue eyes and saw the eyes of someone much older, someone who had seen too many Outlander raids and had grown sick of the loss of friends and family. The girl looked back levelly at Kenwa, and he found himself surprised that he blinked first. A touch surprised by his own reaction, he relaxed his stance slightly, lowered the barrel of his rifle so that it wasn't pointed directly at the girl, and asked, "What are you doing here?"

"Go north," the girl grunted out, clearly trying to get the cadence of the dialect of the Herders but failing miserably.

"Why?" Kenwa asked incredulously. "Winter is closing in. The first snows here soon, and it is already snowing two valleys north."

"Seek Angels of Death," the girl replied, as if it were the most obvious thing in the world.

"If you go north in the winter, you will find death," Kenwa stated, all while he noted the chirping of birds to his side. His brothers in arms and senior scouts, Metnah Vans and Javwa Timwa, had arrived and had his back. Knowing that they would have the girl lined up should she be trying anything, he lowered his gun to a rest position and gestured that she could drop her hands.

"Angels of Death, not my death," the girl corrected. "Giants and demon slayers. They kill Firestarter. They kill all of King's men."

"No one can kill the Firestarter, it's a demon and thus invincible by definition of being a demon," Kenwa scoffed incredulously.

"They angels, and angels kill demons," the girl explained as if it was the most obvious thing in the world. "They bring down Firestarter with their guns and then haul out pilot. Pilot just man, and he die like man." Kenwa noted that the girl had a rather disturbingly pleased grin spread over her face.

"And you heard this story where?" Kenwa asked, deciding to humour the obviously touched in the head Outlander girl.

"No heard, see! Firestarter attack people, start killing, kill mother. Watch angels fight. Watch as angels offer pilot to people. First to strike pilot, to start killing back," the girl boasted proudly.

"I don't believe you," Kenwa stated flatly.

The girl shrugged and said, "Then don't believe. I go to find angels. I walk to place where King lived and found servants there, but no angels. They up north, past mountains. I try to sneak on to flying machines, but servants catch me so I start walking north."

"North past the mountains? The snow up there never melts, even in summer! There's nothing to eat, but you'll freeze long before you starve with winter coming," Kenwa stated.

"I go to find angels," the girl stated.

Running his fingers through his curly red hair in exasperation over what to do about the crazy Outlander girl, Kenwa said, "Would you speak with the elders of my tribe before you go north?"

The girl nodded and said, "Yes."

Metnah and Javwa emerged from the brush behind Kenwa and Javwa added on, "We'll need to check you for explosives, poisons, that sort of thing."

The girl looked thoughtful for a moment before she set her pack down lifted her arms up so as to be frisked. The three scouts quickly and discreetly searched her and found nothing of note, although the girl's utter lack of how to survive in the wilds was evident by the contents of her pack. She was not carrying anything useless to survival, but she had not planned her supplies out particularly efficiently either. Frowning, Kenwa said, "You would starve to death with this pack in midsummer, let alone going into winter."

The girl shrugged and said, "Have more than at start."

The three scouts all shared meaningful glances between each other before Metnah said, "We need to have a long talk, but first we'll go see the elders. Incidentally, what is your name?"

"Samsara," the girl replied.

"What's that mean?" Javwa asked, the term being completely unfamiliar to him.

Samsara shrugged and said, "Life, fate, seasons. Hard to say."

Kenwa nodded at that. Outlander naming conventions were very different from what the People used, so he supposed it possible that she did not properly know her own name. Then again there was also something of a dialect barrier between the two of them and he suspected at least part of that attempt at translation had involved an error. Shrugging, he said, "My name is Kenwa Nalten. It means 'The Shadow Hidden in Darkness' in our sacred tongue."

"Who are friends?" Samsara asked curiously as her backpack was repacked in a more efficient manner.

"Metnah Vans, 'Whispers of the Mountain'," Metnah said as way of proper introduction.

"Javwa Timwa, 'Shade Upon Streams'," Javwa chimed in as he finished.

Samsara considered these names for a moment before she said, "Okay."

"You seem dubious about our names," Metnah commented dryly.

"Seem... complicated," she stated with a bit of a diplomatic pause in the middle.

"Our names are titles given to us when we become adults. They tell us who we are," Kenwa explained.

"Ah," Samsara said. She considered for a moment before she said, "Then am definitely Samsara."

All three scouts gave her a sceptical look and she said, "Day when mother's guts blown across face and kill Firestarter pilot is day become adult, day Samsara become who am instead of who called."

Kenwa looked among his fellow scouts before they all nodded in agreement and said, "Fair enough, if true."

Metnah added on, "We believe you believe."

Samsara nodded and said, "But you not people who need believe."

"True enough. Let's get going," Metnah stated, and they all started to move through the forest.

After perhaps half an hour, Samsara commented in a hushed voice, "You much quieter than me."

The scouts all glanced among each other before Javwa said, "We're scouts. Why do you think we got our names? Plus you walk like an Outlander, which is not very quiet."

Metnah considered her for a moment before he said, "Quieter than most."

"Sometimes would sneak out, but not need very quiet for that," Samsara admitted.

Metnah snorted with amusement as he considered Kenwa before he said, "All good scouts sneak away from home."

"That they do," Kenwa said proudly before he bent over and opened up the wooden hatch hidden among the forest debris. Gesturing to Samsara, he said, "In you go, I'll follow shortly."

"We'll sweep for anyone following her," Metnah stated, the other two scouts quickly melting back into the forest.

"They good," Samsara noted as she took off her pack and began to pick her way carefully into the dark hole.

"We have to be," Kenwa replied as he watched her descend. Following along shortly, he closed the hatch behind him before he slipped down the ladder by feel alone. Once at the bottom he expertly took out a match and struck it so that he could kindle a small lantern kept at the bottom, revealing the roughly hewn wooden planks that held the earth at bay from crumbling in on the narrow, cramped tunnels that allowed for hidden movement and served to make the true home of the People harder to find.

Samsara looked up him with eyes wide against the dark and Kenwa could not help but feel that her stare saw far too much for a woman so young. Carefully slinging his rifle as he stooped to crawl through the tunnels, Kenwa said, "Follow me exactly. The tunnel has many branches meant to make invaders lost, and many traps."

Samsara just nodded and followed along dutifully behind Kenwa as he moved into the tunnel complex, leading her on the long journey through the tunnels that kept the People safe to their ultimate shelter. Emerging from the tunnels to the final line of defence before the internal ones of the shelter itself, Kenwa found himself staring down the barrels of a pair of black powder Gatling guns, a rather effective set of tools considering the tight corners and the limited supplies of the People. The guards looked down in surprise as a visitor came in behind Kenwa, but he just waved them off and said, "This is a matter for the elders to decide."

Escorting Samsara through the fortifications just outside the tunnels and forcing her to leave her backpack at a guard station, he brought her out into the extensive cavern network that served as the primary habitation point of the People. While most of their food came from hunting and gathering on the surface, the river of glacier water that ran through the centre of the complex could be tapped for irrigation for lightless agriculture. Guiding her through the labyrinthine complex of habitations that served as a further line of defence should invaders come in force, he guided her up a ladder to a secluded part of the cavern, deep in the complex and far from any of the potential points of entry. The distinctive smell of young children wafted through the heavily built up doors, indicating one of the purposes of the structure.

Handing his gun and knives off to the guards posted there, Kenwa submitted to a thorough pat down, as did Samsara without protest. Ushered inside the crèche, they found themselves in the centre of a large bowl shaped area ringed with cribs and playpens, the elders of the tribe going about the task of helping to raise the next generation of the People. Adorned in quilted cloaks made from scraps of the clothing of the First People who had first hidden in these caves to escape the rapacious rule of the Outlanders so many generations ago, they were a living link to a past and the repositories of all that was good in the People.

Faces wrinkled and gnarled by far too many seasons of stress and grief, the elders all looked in curiosity at the young woman that Kenwa had brought them. Bidding both to take seats upon the floor at the centre of the crèche, they all circled about and examined Samsara in silence for a long time. Finally the Eldest, Yinben Avnen Illbore, asked of Samsara, "Why are you here child?"

"Because Kenwa brought here," Samsara replied.

"And why did he bring you here?" Illbore pressed.

"Because move across land," Samsara answered.

Illbore, Grandmother Pain, considered this answer for a long time before she asked, "Why do you only answer the immediate question?"

"Because that's all you ask me," Samsara explained.

Illbore considered this for a time before she chuckled dryly and said, "You're crazy, you know that?"

"Heard it before, yes, since set out to find angels," Samsara agreed.

Illbore considered this for a time before she quietly consulted Kenwa on what he knew, before she checked it against Samsara's story, which had not changed from her first telling. Illbore considered all of this before she asked, "These angels in the north, you are really going to look for them?"

"Yes," Samsara stated.

"Winter is coming and you don't have the supplies to make the trip. Even People don't go that far north, only crazy Outlanders, and they leave in winter. You will die if you go now," Illbore explained.

Samsara considered this and then said, "If die, die. Have nothing else but find angels."

Illbore nodded and said, "People got funny feeling last season when we go north. Ghosts in those valleys. Maybe your angels, maybe not. Still, need to find out what is going on. Frankly, we elders don't want to risk our own for it, but maybe crazy girl do the job for us. We give you food, supplies, and guide to get you most of the way there... in spring. And you have to work to earn your keep until then."

"What work?" Samsara asked.

"Farming, fishing, cleaning, skinning, cooking, mucking, whatever needs to be done to keep us alive," Illbore said.

"That okay. Not do sort of work lay on back for," Samsara said with hatred and disgust. "Kill to not do that, kill again to still not do."

The elders all looked surprised at each other, before a sad look came over Illbore's face and she said, "There's many things a soul not supposed to do but do anyway. And many things it's better to die than do. People have dignity that extends beyond life."

Samsara nodded in perfect understanding, and Kenwa could tell that the elders were visibly upset by the scars she bore inside. This looked like it was going to be an interesting winter.
I love learning. Teach me. I will listen.
You know, if Christian dogma included a ten-foot tall Jesus walking around in battle armor and smashing retarded cultists with a gaint mace, I might just convert - Noble Ire on Jesus smashing Scientologists

Post Reply