Most of the Anthologies (and the one they're putting out this year) are basically Space MArine of one kind or another. Which means they're pretty dull, except for the variety of chapters they cover, and they don't offer much scope for the most part. Some do, but that's it. The exceptions are 'Planetkill' and 'Fear the Alien' which actually means they only have a bit of Space marine stuff.
This also means that because there are going to be more anthologies, and because I don't consider this particularily interesting (except the two I named) I'll probably blow through them quickly. I've still got to slog through Salamander,s BAstion Wars (more 'stuff to get out of the way for more interesting books)' and Space Marine battles (which is a pure mixed bag.) BAsically expect large updates of one or two updates per book, and covered shortly.
Planetkill will be two updates.
By then, the ambush was well and truly sprung. A scattering of lasrifles released their shots into the scout cavalry half-tracks. The AM-10 Hammer Goats indigenous to the Amartine 8th were two-ton buggies with rear caterpillar tracks and pintle-mounted heavy stubbers. Also dubbed AM-10 Scapegoats by virtue of soldierly cynicism, they were regarded as death traps for the two-man reconnaissance teams that operated them.
Some sort of recon vehicle. Whether it is STC pattern, local , or what I don't know.
He thrust thirty centimetres of steel just below the ribs, but the Khan simply stepped into the blow with a carnivorous grace and hooked with an open palm.
30 cm - 12" blade?
The original briefing from the Ordo had read - mild psychic disturbances emanating from Sirene Primal, priority - minor. It had never seemed like much to begin with.
Initial disturbances had first occurred eight months ago. Sanctioned psykers of the Imperial war fleet had sensed a strong psychic flux from the planet itself. Then reports from the neighbouring Omei Subsector began to surface. Astropaths of a missionary outpost on the tundras of Alipsia Secundus had slashed their throats, writing the name of the planet in blood, and silently mouthing Sirene Primal until death claimed them.
The phenomena had initially been dismissed as the psychic backlash of Sirene Primal's war. It was uncommon but not unheard of, for the anguish of billions in suffering to cause to coalesce into psychic disturbance. Scholars had named it a planetary swansong
No wonder Astropaths have such low lifespans in the Imperium. Still it can serve as a sort of warning system, I guess.
Another aspect of this quite probably is that navigators hav trouble travelling through war zones because all teh war and death stirs up the Warp.
Despite the icy chill, Roth had suited up in Spathean fighting plate. The form-fitting chrome was coated with a hoar of frost that bled vaporous curls into the air. Over this he framed a tabard of tessellating obsidian. The tiny panes of psi-reactive glass, although a potent psi-dampener, did little to insulate him against the temperature.
Body armor with extra psi-reactive defenses.
A huntsman with augmented bioscope lenses was seldom wrong about such things. Already the target reticles oscillating on the pupils of his eyes had locked on the Marauder destroyers swooping in the distance.
Dude with special optical targeting augmetics.
His man Silverstein however, scoped it clearly, complete with a statistical read-out that scrolled down in the upper left corner of his vision. +++ Obex-Pattern Vulture gunship, VTOL sub-atmospheric combat aircraft. Organic weapon systems: Nose-mounted heavy bolter - Optional wing-mounted autocannons - Pod-racked double missile systems. +++
Vulture gunship stats, also taagged by the Targeitng augmetics.
The gunship blurred past their jutting fist of rock, snorting jet exhaust. It sharply arrested its descent forty metres above the exodus, pivoting on the fulcrum of its tail. There it hovered on the monstrous turbines of vector thrust engines.
From his vantage point up the slope, Roth was almost at eye-level with the gunship. He watched with growing trepidation as half a dozen tendrils of rope uncoiled from the belly of its hold, reaching out like the tentacles of a waiting beast. Troops, bulky with combat gear, began to rappel down the steel cables.
Roth recognized them immediately as men of the 45th Montaigh Assault Pioneers. Great shaggy men, broad and bearded, descending with shoulder-slung lascarbines. Their insulated winter fatigues lined with mantine fur and coloured in the distinctive grey and green jigsaw pattern were unmistakeable.
Zou kinda messed up here, methinks. Valkyries are the troop carriers, not vultures. I suppoe there might be a troop carrying variant of the vulture but really why bother? Either it was a misidentification in universe or its a variant.. I'm opting for the former. Either way the gunship has vectored thrust engines, so it can hover.
If it is a Vulture with transport capacity, it holds only a squad.
Amongst the death marshes of Cetshwayo in M609.M41, Assault Pioneers had spearheaded their advance through supposedly impenetrable terrain with a system of drainage dams and mobile pontoons. Their ingenuity resulted in a single division of Assault Pioneers overwhelming an estimated eighty thousand orks. Where all battles are won by manoeuvre, the men of Montaigh paved the way.
Assuming a division is like modern military, we're talking 10-15 thousand troops routing 5-8 times their number.
Also note the mention (and use, apparently) of manoeuvre warfare. Which isn't tos ay that the IG is all manuver, because it isn't. but there is a distinction. Its defensive forces (teh majority of the Guard, since it garrisons mainly) is defensive in nature, and relies on the places itse defending for supply and equipping. The offensive forces (relatively smaller, but still vastly significant) are the offensive and (somewhat) mobile arm.
- There exist some veteran Guard regiments stupid enough to contemplate gunning down even an Inquisitor, at least if the Inquisitor is isolated on the planet away from normal sources of s upport.
"Sergeant. Up there, three hundred paces behind you, is a huntsman with a Vindicare-class Exitus rifle. Don't bother looking, he's well hidden. What I can tell you, is that he was trained by the lodge-masters of Veskepine and I've seen him shoot the eyes off an aero-raptor in mid flight. Give him four seconds, he'll put down half your squad. It's your call Sergeant."
How did a Huntsman get an Exitus rifle? They're custom made for one thing, and I doubt the ASsassins just let that shit out of their control easily. I doubt it was looted fr+om a borrowed Assassin but who knows. Anyhow, 300 paces is either 225 or 450 metres.
"An off-world landing craft. A four-man patrol picked up signs of a large metallic object in an ice cavern two kilometres west of here. Their last transmission confirmed it was a lander, frozen solid with snow. Must have been right under our noses since before the winter months."
The ship was a merchant runner, entombed under a tongue of glacial ice. The burnt sepia of its painted hull appeared incandescent under the striated ice, almost aglow with lambent energy. A cavern formed its cradle, where it slumbered in the throat of a frosty maw, framed by fangs of icicles.
The ship itself was a blunt-nosed cruiser about two hundred paces long, the hammerhead of its prow pockmarked with the scars of asteroid collision. Roth surmised by its squat boxy frame that it was a blockade runner, similar to the type favoured by illicit smugglers and errant rogue traders.
a 200 paces (150-300 metre) long landing craft. It might be warp capable or it might just be designed for sub-stellar use.
The inquisitor led the way, auspex purring in his grip. Behind him, Silverstein and the Montaigh Guardsmen formed a staggered file with weapons covering every angle of approach. They reached no further than the shadow of the cave entrance when the auspex chimed three warning tones. A solitary target flashed on the display, half a kilometre from their position, almost right on top of the beached cruiser.
Auspex with half a km range.
Silverstein lowered his Exitus rifle and scanned the cave, optiscopic eyes whirring and feeding data. He achieved a lock-on almost instantly. +++Solitary target, stationary. Height 1.5 metres. Mass density approx. 40-50kg. Target identification: Female, human 98% - Female, xenos 57% -Humanoid, other 36%. Target distance: 298.33 metres. Status temperature - ALIVE+++
Hunter augmetics at work again.
Despite the relentless cold, Roth was suddenly very glad for the frictionless trauma-plates that hugged his body.
Frictionless trauma plates. I imagine the frictionless bit helps bullets ricochet off. probably doesn't do much against energy weapons though.
He holstered his pistol and was in the act of gingerly reaching out to touch the organic membrane when all three auspexes in his team chimed simultaneously. Roth froze.
3 auspexes in the team. At least one must belong to the Squad.
- Hormagaunts. With a genestealer brood. Normally I'd call this a WTf, but I'm guessing that they're part of a combined infiltration effort. as I recall 'stealers and gaunts are sometimes deployed via spore pods as infiltrators to bree dand expand on planet preparatory to an invasion.
The Blade Artisan pirouetted with a twirling downward stroke that severed one of the monstrosity's upper limbs. In reply, the tyranid speared her into the wall with a battering ram of psychic force.
Psychic tyranid using TK attack. Must be a synapse creature.
The creature snaked back its torso with serpentine grace, evading the blow and swept in with its three remaining hook-scythes. Roth ducked, feeling an organic blade skip against the frictionless shoulder plate of his armour.
A benefit of frictionelss plates, I suppose.
They fought on two separate planes. While their bodies raged, so too were their minds locked in a psychic duel. The tyranid was much stronger, its mind a tidal wave of raw, seething force. Roth was not a potent psyker, but what ability he had, he utilised well, sharpening and tightening his will into a poignard of deliverance. Although the broodlord's mind was like the staggering force of a blind avalanche, Roth's was the clean mind-spikes and mental ripostes of a Progenium-trained psychic duellist. It was like a death struggle between the kraken and the swordfish.
Inquisitor vs Tyranid psykers. Also a difference in fighting styles (sledgehammer versus stilletto)
Beyond the Sephardi ranges, Imperial artillery was pounding the mountains to rubble and the rubble to dust. The steady krang krang krang of the batteries sounded like thousand tonne slabs of rockrete in collision. In the tomb-vaults below the mountains, deep within the arterial labyrinth, billions of ancestral caskets tremored under the brutal bombardment. Finally, down amongst their dead, the Sirene Monarch's hidden legions would make ready for their last battle.
The assault on the Sirene tomb-vaults had started before dawn. To their credit, Imperial high command had been quick to react, with Lord Marshal Cambria personally overseeing the mobilization of a quick reaction force within six hours. Inquisitor Roth's discovery had hammered a shockwave through the campaign's war-planners and they were eager to seize the initiative. The stalemate, it seemed, was about to be broken.
Mobilization time of Guard forces... manoeuvre warfare again, I guess. Also artillery in unknown quantity destroying a mountain.
Falling in step behind Roth was Bastiel Silverstein. He toggled the target lock of his hunting crossbow to active and loaded a prey-seeker missile. The light polymer sleekness of a Veskepine arcuballista was ideal for tunnel assault.
Crossbow-fired prey-seeker missile.
A psychic bolt exploded from the Monarch, warping the air around it into an oscillating cone. It tore through Inquisitor Roth and threw him thirty feet down the ivory path in a spray of blood and black glass. The psychic aftershock rippled through the room like a stone in a pond, coating every surface in a thick rime of frost.
The mind blow would have liquefied any normal man. But Obodiah Roth had a trump card. The glinting hauberk of psi-reactive crystal had absorbed the brunt of the psyker's power. As shards of black glass scattered in a blizzard around him, Roth realised the armour would not survive another psychic attack. And neither would he. Blood and bile oozed from his mouth and nose in thick strings. His head swam and he could barely see.
The psi-armour proves useful.
To his flanks, the Guardsmen continued to rake a steady stream of las-rounds at the Monarch's scions. "I'll bet my balls that they're wearing armour under those gowns too," Roth laughed darkly to himself. Some of the scions were slammed off their feet by the kinetic force of the shots, only to get back up and continue charging the inquisitor's team.
Genestealers have armor that can stop las-fire yet can be worn under gowns. Lasfire still has enough force (from explosive vaporization no doubt) to knock Genestealers on their ass. Assuming a vapour velocity of 1000 m/s and a 200 kg 'stealer knocked half a metre back, we're talking 50 kj per shot at least, maybe.
The xenos game hunter aimed his crossbow. He had swapped to a rapid-fire cartridge, designed to bring down swift moving game. On automatic, Silverstein could empty all twelve bolts into his assailant in three seconds. He needed only one. A salvo of bolts tore out the eunuch's face, the neural toxins causing the assailant to spasm so hard his spine broke. He dropped to the floor, his one hand locked into a flexing claw.
Automatic-rapid fire mode on the crossbow. 4 shots per second.
Nearest to Roth, a Kurassian commando had died sitting up, the fingers of his gauntlet locked around the throat of an enemy. The Guardsman had been shot over a dozen times, but he had not released the chokehold.
Probably heavy infantry, and lived that long due to his armor. Whehter it is some kind of heavy flak (rigid plates) or carapace, or what, we don't know.
Sirene was a frontier world and missionaries had been the only true Imperial outposts on the planet. Incidentally, those clerics and ecclesiarches were also the only ones to access warp-capable vessels.
Priests with warp capable vessels, somehow.
On Sirene Primal, seventy thousand Guardsmen of Montaigh, Kurass and Amartine dug in on the rugged Sephardi ranges to stall the xenos advance. It is said, that within three months the mountains had been transformed into a sprawling network of artillery palisades, tunnelled barbicans and interlocking firing nests. Once the xenos made landfall, the Guardsmen were expected to hold out for eight weeks. They lasted less than five hours.
IG vs Hivefleet. 70,000 is not going to fend off millions or billions no matter what.
"they saw this world from space and they named it Bahani, meaning "Blue". For when they came here the deserts were oceans, the winds were soft and the land swelled with fruit and grain. Our people thought this was the great reward from the Emperor, and so they helped the masters, the Imperial men, to build their towers and their factories. We served them willingly, never knowing that they would cloud the skies, boil away the seas and turn the air to smoke."
Ah, the benefits of Imperial membership. Probably in millenai or centuries to do that, but boiling away oceans is not trivial (megatons per second of energy easily over millenia)
Tensions were high between the hundreds of Administratum officials in the process of decommissioning the Imperium's assets and the millions of indentured workers that they were to leave behind. It meant an end to the tithes; no longer would they have to labour within the mega-processing plants or on the vapour-ships evaporating seawater to extract the minerals it held. They would be free, or at least as free as any man could be in this dark galaxy. But, more than anything else, theirs would also be the freedom to starve, to fight and to die. Every industry on Bahani was devoted to the extraction of raw materials that other worlds craved and the Administratum and their indentured workers had systematically boiled the seas and eviscerated the land over the millennia of their occupation. Now, the Imperium had taken all it could and was moving on..
The structures he had seen when they landed, they were ships. Huge factory ships, old and gutted, their hulls pock-marked with rust. There was rank upon rank of these hulks, settled, immovable, upon the salty plain.
"My grandfather," the worker continued, "he said that this used to be the deepest part of the Great Western Sea. That is why all the vapour-ships, they ended up here. To finish off the last of it."
We learn the method and reasons why the Imperium fucked up the planet. Basically they strip mined every ueable resource out of it. Iron alone in the crust is something like e21 kg, and the other elements alone can boost that quantity by a good factor of 5 or 6, so even if the planet were (say) smaller and poorer in important mateirals (1000x off) we're talking quadrillions of tons of metals easily. The oceans probably wouldn't yield nearly as much (less than a fraction of a percent for most) but they stripped tha ttoo - possibly an indicator that the crusts weren't as plentiful.
The Relentless, a Lunar-class cruiser, warship of the most-revered Emperor's Navy, hung in silent orbit as the Imperial departure from Bahani continued apace. From the tip of its heavy prow, with armour metres thick, to the mighty engines at its stern it measured more than eight kilometres long and over a mile high. Every crenelation, every tower that festooned its hull was unique, having been repaired or replaced countless times over its centuries of service. Every cannon and launcher that made up the batteries along its flanks had its name and a gun-crew whose sole purpose was its service.
It probably isnt really 8 km long... although its possible Lunar class vessels do get this long. We know it isn't in this case because Relentless describes the same ship as 3 km long.
Length to height ratio is 5:1. Also it has both cannon and launcher for its batteries.
Perhaps once, in the glory years of Battlefleet Bethesba, the officer corps of the Relentless had served selflessly, out of pride and loyalty to the Emperor, but now all that seemed to motivate them was personal profit and advancement.
Battlefleet Bethesba. Also this is not a very good fleet, as outlined in the novel Relentless.
He had been attached to the Imperia Ordinatus and was only a short distance away from where the imposing master of ordnance sat surrounded by servitors, each one linked into a battery of consoles feeding them data regarding the ready condition of the ship's torpedoes and smaller craft. In battle, this position would resound with a cacophony of noises; for the moment, however, it was quiet.
Servitors linked into data feeds about the conditon of torpedoes and attack craft. It implies some sort of computer-element in their control and operation/
"I, Governor Horsl Kaizen, speak for the Adeptus Terra. For this world before us designated 129 Tai D, known as Bahani, I hereby declare all tithe-treaties void and debts extant cancelled and declare this world as orbis cassi - of no further worth."
"I, Commander Tomias Ward, first officer of the Emperor's warship Relentless, speak for Battlefleet Bethesba. For this world before us designated 129 Tai D, I hereby declare this world as orbis поп contegnum. We entrust the defence of this world back to its people. May they stand strong and faithful in their new age of His service."
The vox-officer tapped a single key. In an instant the communique flashed from his screen to the command deck data-nexus and from there flew through space to strike its intended target: one of Bahani's orbital beacons. Within the same second, the beacon digested its contents and had taken the necessary action and passed the same message onto its fellows. The message itself was complex, it had taken days to prepare with the necessary encryptions, authorisations and passwords, but its essence was simple:
You are no longer a part of the Imperium.
The planet would be excised from the Administratum's great volumes of the Emperor's worlds; if it were attacked, the Imperium would not listen to its cries for help. Trade and transport routes would be redefined, no longer would the merchant fleets that Bahani relied upon for its food venture there.
A bit of hypocrisy considering how often we hear "all human worlds are part of the Imperium". I'd also have to think this doesn't happen very often. They "lose" worlds, but they don't just give them up - we can name tons of worlds that the Imperium has virtually raped of all resources, population, etc. yet hold onto because it's a human world and that's what the Imperium does. Cynicism tells me this world probably was abandoned for selfish, personal or political reasons after being stripped, not because the Imperium at large would approve. Hell, I doubt the Imperium even is aware of the fact or cares.
It's also pretty vindictive that the world basically will be ignored by trade and merchant ships. Considering that the planet was virtually ruined by the Imperium's resource gathering efforts here, that pretty much means that without support the people on the planet (12 million) would die.
At its centre travelled the Gloriana Vance, the Barbican-class liner carrying the Administratum officials and those valuable goods and machinery deemed worthy of removal in the evacuation. In formation around it were the Spur, Illys and Onyx, Sword-class frigates assigned as escort. Behind these trailed three dozen cargo scows carrying the last shipment of processed ore that the factories of Bahani would produce. At the fore, dwarfing the smaller ships, the cruiser Relentless majestically swung into the lead position.
Barbican class liner, plus escort. And a last shipment of Ores.
The transport had landed, its exit ramp had dropped and Marcher and his men had scrambled for what cover they could find as the transport's multilasers ran red-hot, providing covering fire.
One, heavier than the rest, had an ugly cannon slung underneath which spat splinter-shot, stitching a bloody line along the deck, slicing apart the bodies of those trying to flee.
Splinter shot cannon.
The cannon spat again, a clean line of explosions bit along the wall at waist-height, catching those crouching in the shoulders and face and cutting the armsmen standing in two. The blood and the dust billowed up and obscured the carnage beneath for a moment before it was blown clear by the sky-boards sweeping past. The scream of their engines faded to be replaced by the screams of the armsmen left with arms and legs hanging from their perforated torsos.
Cannon bisecting armsmen.
The sky-boarder tried to jink but he could not dodge such a volley. His body was torn apart, his board spun and the other fliers screeched as they realised their formation was too tight for safety. Two of them managed to wheel away, the other over-steered and fell. He twisted through the air and landed rolling onto the deck. He sprang to his feet, pulling at a pistol and was blown back by a single shot, half his face missing.
This time the raider was already turning, flipping his board, thinking to use it as a shield. Useless thought. The heavy shot punctured the board's engine and it spiralled out of control and exploded. The other raiders however had kept well separated and swept down amongst the armsmen.
Naval shotguns vs Dark Eldar.
The view-portal flicked to a view of the Sword frigate behind them. Its point-defence turrets flashed for a second, valiantly trying to track the missiles detected too late. One, two and then a third explosion rocked the frigate, blowing away the dorsal control towers and chunks of the engine. The frigate held firm for a moment and then a series of secondary blasts ripped through its interior.
Depending on the range form the target, this could mean an Eldar torpedo velocity between 100 km/s and 1000 km/s (the noted range of point defense turrets in the BFG novels - depending on which turrets you talk of) by other novels - Thousands of km/s is possible. Imperial torpedoes are slower, but not dramatically more so for the most part. Eldar torpedoes IIRC can penetrate shields, so this argues macro cannon projectiles (and other proejctiels blocked by shields) travel many times faster.
"Angle a wide arc across its centre. Maintain a link with the torpedoes; be ready to detonate them at my instruction."
The torpedoes entered the shadow thousands of miles apart from each other. Far too distant from each other to be effective as a combat strike, but their purpose was not to damage the enemy, just to find him.
Torpedo spread thousands of km apart from each other.. also note the use of telemetry feeds.
Explosions flared in the space before them, tiny against the vast shadow, but the streams of data flowing back into the auspex arrays spiked.
"Well?" Ward demanded.
Lieutenant Aden opened his mouth and it hung there for a second. "Yes... a distortion in one explosion."
"Feed those coordinates through," Ward crowed. "Mister Crichell, take us in, bring our broadside
to bear. Mister Roche, ready the port gun batteries. "
Using proximity torpedo detonations to locate and pinpoint the Dark Eldar ship in its shadowfield.
They were fascinated by Marcher's exploits; he who had actually met the enemy face-to-face and not merely watched them on scopes a thousand miles distant.
If scopes is meant to mean beyond visual range, they would have to be small ships.
Page 102 - whatever the mineral they salvaged from that planet's oceans was, it blows up really well. Probably gives us an idea of why they were salvaging it.
Governor Kaizen, taking command of the station, swore that, explosion or no explosion, he would brook no delay in the full installation of extraction and processing infrastructure onto the surface of the verdant planet 42 Mai T, known as Msuti to the workers who had recently been transported there. Initial surveys had suggested that Msuti could sustain full mining operations for at least three thousand years before it would become exhausted and uninhabitable. Not long in galactic terms, but it would do until the Imperium found the next one.
Yet more grimdark. It seems to be typical procedure here. 3000 year lifespan to exhaust minerals. If we assume earthlike for iron (e20-21 kg) we'r talkig some e16-e17 kg per year.
At the end of the time the planet will be uninhabitable too.
A headless body lay beside him, the ragged stump of neck still enthusiastically pumping blood onto the dark, almost black, soil. Another corpse lay amid the dripping carcass of an exploded fruit, its chest cavity ripped open as though an explosive charge had detonated within. Other bodies lay in similar states of terrible ruin - heads crushed, limbs removed or torsos ripped apart.
The Imperial battleship sailed away from the Warbreed, its enormous bulk a slab of bristling, ancient metal as it plied its stately course through the stars, oblivious to the enemy that passed beneath it. Its name was a mystery, but the threat it represented should any of its surveyors, auspex or escorts discover them was very real indeed.
Ever since Cycerin had brought the ship through the gates of the empyrean, they had followed a stuttering course towards their target, avoiding patrol flotillas, system monitors and listening posts scattered throughout the system.
System defence fleet.
The three warriors watched the pinpoint of light grow from a speck in the darkness to something more angular and blocky. As the distance lessened, the shape resolved into a gently spinning orbital defence platform, though the majority of its launch bays were angled towards the planet's surface.
The defence platform hung in geostationary orbit above the planet's equator above a loathsome stretch of purple that spread across a wide, ochre landmass.
Geostationary defence platform.
Even so, it had been a stroke of luck to have the nearby monitor on station. They hadn't detected it, but as it was engine-on to the sun's corona that wasn't surprising. The Veritas codes were old ones, but were still genuine and permission had been granted for it to dock.
Coming in with the sun at your back, so to speak.
Honsou raised his bolter and shot First Officer Alevov in the face.
The headless body slammed against the bronze walls of the airlock and the gun's report echoed deafeningly in the confined chamber. Honsou moved swiftly forward, seeing two open-mouthed soldiers at the chamber's exit with a heavy calibre weapon.
Shock and horror had paralysed them for a moment, but it was all Honsou needed. His bolter roared again and the soldiers were torn in two by a sawing arc of bolter shells.
headshot bolt round, as well as bisecting them.
Honsou rolled around the door; his bolter raised to his shoulder and pumping out lethally aimed shots directed by his augmetic eye. Three soldiers flopped back, their chests pulped to ruptured craters by three shots.
Bolt rounds blast out chests.
One soldier crumpled, his shoulder blasted away and his face shredded by exploding fragments of bone.
More bolter fire.
Grendel shrugged and dropped the wailing soldier, who crawled away holding his shattered wrist close to his chest. Grendel let him get a few metres away before turning his weapon on him and unleashing a superheated blast of energy from the underslung melta gun.
The protective senses of his helmet dimmed momentarily as the white-hot blast engulfed the soldier and Grendel laughed as the glow faded and he saw the stumps of feet and charred skull lid that was all that remained.
meltablast vaporizes/cremates soldier. hundreds or thousands of megajoules.
One soldier carried a stubby tube on his shoulder, into which another man stuffed a finned missile.
Honsou wanted to laugh at the desperation of the weapon, before realising that the detonation of such a missile would explosively decompress the entire outer ring and send everyone within hurtling into space.
A bloom of noise, light and smoke erupted from the soldiers and, though it was surely impossible to see such a fast moving object, Honsou saw a needle-nosed missile streaking towards him.
Honsou felt the daemon withdraw into the weapon and end the battle for control, but knew it was far too late to avoid the missile. He threw his arm up before him in an instinctive gesture of defence.
The force of the impact hurled him from his feet and he felt a terrible, leeching power within him, as though a loathsome, dark force tapped into his life-force. His head slammed against the wall and he looked down to see the smoking, hissing fins of the missile embedded in the rippling silver of the arm he had taken from the Ultramarines sergeant.
Light pulsed in the depths of the arm, flitting fireflies of energy that spoke of technology wrought in an age long forgotten and a race of such malice that his own petty evils were insignificant when measured alongside theirs. Even as he watched, a fiery orange line hissed around the circumference of the portion of the missile that protruded from his arm and it fell to the deck with a clatter of metal.
Rocket launcher... no match for a necron-infected augmetic arm. It ets anything.
A salvo of sixteen orbital torpedoes surged from the planetside launch bays, followed by another rippling salvo seconds later. Another three salvos launched until all but one of the platform's entire payload of missiles was expended. Each missile dropped away rapidly from the platform, the blue-hot coals of their engines firing for long enough to put them in a ballistic trajectory towards the planet's surface.
They swooped downwards like hunting raptors, their formation breaking up as the spread pattern implanted into each warhead by Adept Cycerin took hold of each one. The missiles diverged until their contrails were spread around the planet like a glittering spiderweb.
Heat shields burned with conical fire as the missiles plunged through the atmosphere, emerging into the crystal skies of the planet. Hurried defences scrambled to lock onto the missiles, but launched from low orbit, they were already travelling too quickly and were too close to be engaged with any hope of success.
As the missiles reached a predetermined altitude over the planet's surface, each one exploded and spread its viral payload into the air. Vast quantities of the experimental Heraclitus strain were released into the atmosphere in doses billions of times greater than had been employed on Golbasto.
All across the planet, a terrible rain fell, the genius of Magos Szalin of the Ordos Biologis wreaking terrible damage as it went to work on the indigenous and xenos vegetation.
Low orbit (geostationary?) torpedo bombardment and the Heralictus virus in action. Station must have some AG effect to allow for artificial orbital stability.
Though the invasion had been defeated, the dreadful legacy of the alien invaders remained to taint the planet's ecology forever. From pole to pole, horrific spires of dreadful alien vegetable matter towered over the landscape, slowly choking the life from the natural landscape.
The alien flora had subsumed entire continents, a rapacious instinct to devour encoded in every strand of its genetic structure. Nutrients were leeched from the soil and used to create hyper-fertile spore growths that drifted on the heated currents of the air to seed new regions and pollute yet more land.
Only rigorous burning policies ensured the planet's survival - for a world of the Imperium could not simply be abandoned, not after all the blood that had been shed in its defence. The shining steel cities, islands in a sea of alien growth, still produced masses of munitions and armoured vehicles for Imperial wars throughout the subsector.
Salvoes of anti-plant missiles, slash and burn pogroms and pesticide overflights were a matter of routine since the defeat of the invasion.
Such things were thankless tasks, but necessary for the planet's continued survival.
Aftermath of Warriors of Ultramar. Much as with Orks, once the 'Nids take hold you can never get rid of them.
It's funny that they say a world cannot be abandoned, when we just got done with a short story where the Imperium does precisely that. It's a case of one hand not even being aware of what the other does.
Developed from a partial fragment of ancient research conducted by Magos Heraclitus, the bio-toxins were intended to increase the growth rate of crops on agri-worlds. Magos Szalin had taken the next step and pioneered techniques designed to increase the productivity of such worlds a thousand fold.
Now that work was put to the ultimate test, mixing its monstrous potential for increased growth with an alien organism that was at the apex of its biological efficiency.
Within seconds of the Heraclitus strain being released into the atmosphere, the alien growths reacted to its touch, surging upwards and over the planet's terrain. Slash and burn teams were instantly overwhelmed by mutant growths, poisonous plant life expanding kilometres in seconds as the virulent growth strain sent its metabolism into overdrive.
Huge amounts of nutrients were sucked from the ground and released as enormous quantities of heat, raising the ambient temperature of the world in a matter of moments. Oxygen was sucked greedily from the atmosphere by horrifyingly massive spore chimneys and the planet's protective layers were gradually stripped in unthinking biological genocide.
This was not the rapid death of Exterminatus, but ecological death of worldwide proportions.
Panicked messages were hurled out into the immaterium and only those with the money, influence or cunning escaped on hastily prepped ships that fled the planet's destruction.
But these were few compared to the billions left behind and, weeks later, as the last of the planet's atmosphere was stripped from it by the hyper-evolved alien biology, stellar radiation swept the surface, killing every living thing and laying waste to all that remained.
Months after the launch of the missiles, nothing remained alive, the deadly alien vegetation killed by lethal levels of radiation and the frigid cold that gripped the planet without its protective atmosphere.
All that now remained of the planet was a dead, lifeless ball of rock, its surface seared and barren, with only the skeletal remains of its blackened cities left as evidence that human beings had once lived upon it.
Exterminatus-like, but slower operating than normal, which suits Chaos because of the probable psychologicla/terror elements to it. Note that Exterminatus here is defined as "rapid death", which may in fact be a requirement (most forms of Exterminatus take no more than hours or minutes to execute, so it makes sense) - weeks and months is (as a rule) far too long for an Exterminatus to be carried off. (unless its the Blood Ravens codex. This may rule out certain kinds of deep-penetrating or excessive Exterminatus.)
Exterminatus like effects probably remain the same though - removal of atmosphere and oceans (Destruction) among other things.
The silver-skinned drop-ship fell through the airless vacuum of the planet. A host of Marauders and Raptors followed it down, though nothing lived here now.
Fighters deploying from orbit.
Cautiously, for none aboard truly felt safe, a squad of Adeptus Mechanicus Tech-Guard clad in heavy environment suits - similar in function and design to the Terminator armour employed by the Adeptus Astartes - emerged and descended to the planet's surface.
Techguard in terminator-armour like enviroment suits. Neat.
Locard saw a battered silver tube, perhaps ten metres in length - an orbital torpedo, though his exo-armour's auspex told him there was no ordnance or explosives loaded in the warhead. This was the source of the signal and Locard knew that someone had wanted them to find this.
10 meter long torpedo. note "ordnance or explosives" is treated separately. Ordnance may be some sort of projectile or thermal/energy blast (EG plasma or melta payload)
There had been rumours during the long journey from Mars. He had heard in his one remaining organic ear that the planet had no official name, which was long ago expunged from Explorator records, Imperial Navy charts and Terran libraria by deletion orders from the highest offices of the Adeptus Terra, from the High Lords of Terra themselves. Even the Inquisition had been persuaded to overlook its existence. The only off-world record of the planet was on Mars, deep within the most ancient data-cores, buried beneath the iron-plated flanks of Olympus Mons. The rumours said that the Adeptus Mechanicus were the sole overlords of the genetor facility here - and of the unnamed planet that it called home.
The events of Hydra Cordatus mentioned. This is a honsou story after all. As usual the Imperium takes every effort to cover up the facts.
The Life-Eater. One of the hallowed munitions of Exterminatus, the Killer of Worlds, the direst sentence brought to bear by the Holy Ordos of the Emperor's Inquisition against a planetary population whose crimes against the Throne of Terra deserved annihilation, absolute and entire. Wholesale planetary destruction.
This planet was where servants of the Adeptus Mechanicus made the Life-Eater virus for the great fleets of the Segmentum Obscurus. In an age when Cyclonic and Incineratus torpedoes were widely used for Exterminatus, and when even some members of the Inquisition frowned upon the Life-Eater for reasons the Mechanicus had long forgotten, the magi biologi of the Adeptus Mechanicus still made one of ancient Terra's most prodigious weapons. Flesh was imperfect, as Archmagos Biologis Vaeyvor had said so many times, and the engine of its annihilation was praise indeed to the Omnissiah.
And the Omnissiah was praised with unceasing industry. Tox-flues and convection stacks ran through the towering facility like veins, steering noxious waste into the rotten atmosphere and the curdled sea. In secure laboratoria, some even surrounded by void shields, wizened genetors created what natural biological processes could never devise. Their chemical creations were processed and refined in vacuum-sealed cauldrons, stretching across vast vat-galleries, which looked out over dead oceans. In filtration and infusion chambers, servitors were hard-wired into endless banks of support and monitoring machinery. Their organics were all but eroded by the corrosive toxins and, despite the durability of steel and plasticide tissue, many disintegrated within days of exposure.
Facility for manufacturing the life eater virus.. or at least one kind of it. Made mainly due to tradition and as a symbol of the AdMech philsophy (flesh is weak) and one of the longest-lived weapons. Done in void shielded facilities as well as other security measures. Even then it will destroy servitors within days due to virulence.
Rather interesting in that this implies (at least in Obscurus) that other forms of exterminatus are more common (cyclonic and incineratus torpedoes - both of which sound brute force and highly energetic.)
The other thing about this story that is interesting is that it implies they not only make, but they refine the WMDs to make them better (that's even a part of this plot.)
Rottle's cortical splicing had not only robbed him of knowing why he left Mars, but why he was part of this magnificent process. He calculated that his service in Martian genetoria had qualified him or perhaps won him preferment. Upon arrival, he was responsible for overseeing the purity-choirs that kept the Life-Eater's toxins dormant during refinement, for calibrating gene-vats, and igniting the lumosphoids to ensure uncorrupted organics - all in the blessed name of the Omnissiah. He could no longer remember the risks involved. Glory unto the Omnissiah was all.
More safety measures.
Rottle struck the gene-vat head-on. Though only the size of a modest man, he weighed far more. Durasteel fittings and plasticide and rubbrete tissue all weighed much more than human organics. Rottle's humanity was but a humble fraction of his mass. His momentum was immense.
The gene-vat shook, swayed, and setded - its legs buckled and the suspensor field growled and fizzed. Rottle staggered, almost losing sentient operable function - consciousness - and his auditory sensors shrilled with the impact.
AdMech weigh far more than normal humans due to augmetics. Note using suspsensors to sustain gene-vats.
In that moment, he never saw the long-dormant spire defences growl into action as gyros swivelled onto the incoming target. Several racks of Hurricane bolters - three linked boltguns - opened up and a furious torrent of hot metal strafed the leviathan. The Hurricanes blew great chunks of rancid meat from the creature, disintegrating it in a blizzard of shells. To the targeting scanners, the target simply evaporated. When Rottle looked, staggering and reeling, he saw nothing. Neither did he see three drops of dormant Life-Eater drop to the floor from the vat's sizzling lip. Outside of the vat's stasis field, the Life-Eater awoke.
Also note the stasis fields used to protect (keep dormant) the Life Eater.
"The Omnissiah works by knowledge alone," the archmagos replied severely. "This is an unprecedented incident, but a numerically permissible one." It was only unprecedented in so far as the Holy Ordos remained ignorant of Rottle's accident and recovery. Other permissible incidents had occurred in the past - such as the flensing of Reppertrix Straynge on Crux II or the ascension of Enginseer Heliope - but the Ordos would descend upon the Mechanicus and eradicate all records and recollections. Vaeyvor rarely regretted such culling, but it was such a waste of tech-priests and magi. Only Vaeyvor knew of these incidents by the gaps in his labyrinthine memory, the names without things that were like negative impressions of an ancient pict-stealer. What he knew was that the Holy Ordos had worked against the glories of the Omnissiah, and that Umbracogg was now one of the few places in the galaxy that such a miracle might take place undiscovered because it simply didn't exist in the wider records of the Adeptus Terra. Perhaps that was the miracle: it was secret, permissible.
Again the AdMech goes to great lengths to keep its secrets from other Imeprial orgnaizations, including the Inquisition - they despite having information taken from him. (This suggests a rather obvious conflict between the Inquisition and AdMech - the AdMech would favour certian kinds of knowledge - knowledge is therie business, whilst the Inquisition exists to control or deny information to people it deems incapable of handling it. Wht the Admech seeks to dig up, the Inquisition suppresses or even purges.)
The facility's chirurgeons had remarked upon the strange quality of Rottle's remaining flesh. Contaminated by the Life-Eater, it should have broken down into the chemical sludge that was capable of devouring more resilient proteins, such as keratin and chitin, as well as bone. But Rottle's remaining soft tissue was oddly resilient, if rotten and suppurating, and the chirurgeons only dismissed the puzzle because they assumed Rottle to be dead. That any flesh had remained was perhaps the greatest miracle of all.
Or it means he's been turned into a plague zombie. Really, is this the first time the Magos biologis has run across this phenomenon that they wouldn't be aware of it.
Also life eater will destroy hard organics as well as soft tissue.
"I can improve the Life-Eater, my lord. I can perfect it. I have been blessed by a revelation of pure knowledge that only the Omnissiah could bestow. I can create the instant destruction of our enemies by robbing the living of life itself, by taking from existence the weakness of being!"
"We do not have the technology to replicate vortex weaponry, magos," responded Vaeyvor.
"Using such a weapon against a planet would create dangers beyond our understanding. The Life-Eater need only sterilize, not obliterate. We seek only to take life, not matter."
"My point exactly, archmagos. The new Life-Eater will take only life, not matter, nor any creation of the materium. It will attack the very spark of life and destroy only those beings whose being marks them as living!"
The archmagos paused, gears grinding quietly until a hiss indicated the release of internal coolants. Vaeyvor was calculating probabilities, possibilities, solutions and scenarios. "The very spark of life?"
"Yes, my lord."
"From the god-like Astartes to the lowest of the underhive?"
Rottle nodded his prehensile optical sensors. The sensation was strange.
More coolants hissed from inside Vaeyvor's voluminous cloak. "From the highest aquila of the Terran sky to the deepest ocean scumling?"
Rottle nodded again, aware that Vaeyvor was intoning the Catechism of Cleansing. He knew what came next.
"From purest sentience to bestial instinct - the eradication of living existence?"
"Oh yes, my lord," responded Rottle with certainty. "I can promise the very eradication of life. The Life-Eater has never been so hungry as I shall make it."
Yet another warning sign that Something Is Wrong. Stupid AdMech. It's also interesting that they say the point of life eater is to "sterilize not obliterate" since many of the firegas producing Virus bombs (life eater as well) can obliterate as well as sterilize. This does confirm that sterilization IS part of exterminatus though.. down to insects and minior life forms even.
Oh yeah and they (supposedly) can't replicate vortex weaponry, despite the fact Titans and the Guard and everyone else still use the warheads. But they'll improve Life Eater.
To let Rottle live now would risk unwelcome attention; to let him die might betray the Omnissiah Himself. But he could be buried in shielded laboratoria for years, hidden in the facility's poisonous depths, where few dared tread, or trod without dying. The secrets of the Machine-God could be made manifest secretly, and one day unleashed in the glorious name of the Emperor.
Yes, let's make things even worse. Keep your dangers even more secret so they can fester (pun intended.) No worse than the punny names.
Next week part two: The aftermath.