And this is second update: hammer and Anvil. Which again is Dedicated (doubly so!) to Aaron, due to that fermented bear fat mark. I still haven't purged my mind of that
Two posts, one update, then I'm clear of that.
In corridors and rooms, in spaces large and small, the sand would accrete in drifts if not properly dealt with. It seemed that no amount of baffles or electromagnetic fields could keep it entirely at bay.
The Sisters used EM fields to deflect/repulse sand on Sanctuary 101
Sister Elspeth had once joked that perhaps the sand was alive, that it might be some sort of mite-sized swarming animal that craved warmth and shadowed corners. Elspeth was dead now, killed just after matins when the attack came.
Clever Elspeth, who was good at regicide and games of tall card, pious Elspeth who sometimes mumbled the catechisms in her sleep.
I quoted this, I like it, because it shows that Sisters can have humor and can enjoy games as well as being fanatical and pious and warriors. To me these groups are at their best when they show a range of personalities, be they Space Marines or Imperial Guard or whatever. I loathe the stereotyping of the Codexes.
...she cursed herself for leaving in such a hurry, without first securing the helmet twinned with her Sabbat-pattern power armour; the infra-red sensing lenses and preysight mechanisms within the helm would have been of great use at this moment.
SoB helmets have both infra red and preysight, which seem to be different things here (whereas IIRC they're the same thing in other sources, like FFG or the ADB novels.)
A digicompass in the vambrace of her armour was the only thing she was willing to trust.
Digital compass, I suppose?
More than once she fell, losing her step as she crested one of the dunes, tumbling, then scrambling after the container when it rolled away, afraid it might split open. But it remained intact; the metal pod was crafted using lost techniques from the Dark Age of Technology, and would have survived a fall from orbit unharmed.
Inidcation of materials tech of the DAoT. I'm not sure if the context means this thing is lost-tech and irreplacable, or if it's just something that relies on sophisticated, rarely understood, and hard to replicate tech that merely makes it rare,
n the gloomy corridors of the convent, the attackers had first shut down the fusion reactor and plunged the outpost into darkness as the storm took hold. Decima did not know how, as the power core was locked away behind thick shield doors and protected by gun-servitors.
convent powered by fusion reactor, which the Necrons easily disabled through unknown means.
The labourers were busy loading cargo pods, and prefabricated Phaeton-pattern construction units that could be assembled into any one of a hundred different modular buildings.
Imperial modular construction stuff.
The long journey from Holy Terra to the Eastern Galactic Rim was almost at an end
Idea of the distances covered.
The deposition from the Sisterhood had come in person to ask again upon a request, which had been circling through the vast machine of Imperial bureaucracy for almost seven solar years.
Seven years of being banned from setting foot upon their own outpost world...
And so, in the nine hundred and third year of the forty-first millennium of the Imperium of Man, Canoness Sepherina was empowered to command a mission back to the silent outpost. Even with good warp currents, six more years Terran standard time had elapsed as the starship Tybalt travelled first to Paramar to equip, and then on to the distant Kavir system.
13 years since the masscare, 7 years of delay, plus 6 years (realspace?) of travel from Terra to the eastern fringes.. 60-70K LY covered.. which is a bit more than 10-12,000c on average (and assuming straight-line course.)
None saw this as clearly as the Sisters of Battle. Oh, it was true that they did not fight this tide of enemies alone, but one could not expect the common soldiery of the Imperial Guard to weather such threats. The Inquisition, while companionable in some forms to the work of the Sororitas, often dallied too closely with the very things they set out to expunge. And the Adeptus Astartes, the Emperor’s Space Marines… They were a melange of conflicted, tribal warrior bands that embraced undependable psychics and the tenets of transhumanism. A few of their number were perhaps more tolerable than the others, and all were faithful to the Throne in their own crude conduct… But they were never to be trusted.
SoB atttitudes towards other branches of the military. Not arrogant at all.
Note the Transhumanism bit. You get alot of recent references to Astartes as post- or trans- human, likely to enrage some epople as 'thematically inappropriate' for real sci fi. Which amuses the hell out of me but I hate those labels as well and think they probably don't apply either.
Like the rest of the hospitallers, Verity had changed into a stripped-down version of a Battle Sister’s combat rig. It wasn’t the Sabbat-pattern power armour the militants took into war, more like carapace kit of the common Imperial Guard, but it was protection enough for auxiliaries like them. Verity had been told it could absorb the power of stubber bullets or an indirect las-bolt, but she had no wish to test the veracity of that claim.
Hospitaller carapace. Gets a mention in (I think) Blood of martyrs (DArk heresy supplement) - for carapace it seems of limited protection, since it can't stop a direct lasbolt (contrastd with storm trooper carapace for example, or even hard-shell Guard flak...) but of course that also depends on the kind of las-bolt. Being able to stop stubber bullets doesn't tell us what kind of stubber (it could mean stub guns up to heavy stubbers, which in turn can be anything from 7.62 NATO analogue to 25mm. And there are stubber rifles.)
Also regardless of the kind of stubber, lasweapons seem to be inherently more powerful.
..just visible beneath the ballistic-cloth coif she habitually wore.
ballistic cloth headgear.
He let his mechadendrites wander a little, sampling the aura of the planet. He drank in the air and the temperature level, let his digital senses taste the gravity index and parse the radiation count. He looked with thermographic and etheric-trace vision clusters, taking in gigaquads of raw data on the physical make-up of the world.
They saw little with the crude jelly of blood vessels and nerves in their heads, crude in comparison to the questor’s superlative multi-sight. This world was alive on the microwave, ultraviolet and phototropic level in ways they would never be able to know.
Techpriests amassing info about the planet thorugh various senses. not sure what 'etheric trace' is. The priest is taking in 'gigaquads' of data in a relatively short period of time (seconds or minutes, before he forms up with is retinue or is interrupted by the Sisters). I ma not sure what a 'quad' is meant to represent. this was the best
I could come up with . Assumgn that does apply, we're talking tens of billions of gigabytes of data accumulated in that short time, although its possible other definitions of 'quad' apply.
There were eight in the party, five of them minor adepts the questor had chosen for their combination of pliancy and intelligence, the others carefully disguised combat skitarii that would pass as non-military Mechanicus helots to all but the most invasive of scans. They formed a cyberconcert and began to create a communal data pool for all the party members.
...He used an encrypted vox-feed to tap into the virus program he had injected into the Tybalt’s machine-spirit back at Paramar, and sifted through the vessel’s orbital scans of the local continent.
some sort of local data network and a virus to hack into a starship's sensor network.
All of them were here, all engaged in the connectivity of it. They shared the responsibility of processing the pool-data between them, utilising a variant form of swarm logic to bounce the cloud of information back and forth. Through machine-code and binary lingua, they communed by use of laser beams, each tuned to be beyond human sight into the far ultraviolet ranges.
The data they shared had many overlaps. The basic factual information about the planet, the environment, the numbers of the mundanes and the materials they had brought down with them, all that was affirmed and filed away. Other matters, like snatches of overheard conversation, were being parsed and edited together to provide a full surveillance of the day’s proceedings. These things occurred on a secondary, almost autonomic level of processing that to the adepts was as unthinking as breathing in and out.
What floated at the top of their data stacks was the discourse about what was to happen next. In strings of ones and zeroes, sometimes with hexadecimal epithets and complex octal-layer nuances, Tegas conversed with his operatives.
More AdMech data sharing. note the use of UV Lasers.
The funeral was a pointless thing, celebrating nothing, meaning nothing. It could not be compared to the importance of, say, a rite of activation upon a sacred device or the anointing of holy mech-oils upon an augmentation. What the Sisterhood engaged in was little more than the flailing of uneducated children, an attempt by the inept to catch the attention of beings far greater than themselves. The Adeptus Mechanicus, on the other hand, knew exactly how their rituals affected the matrix of the universe, down to the last piconeper. They measured and collated their prayers to the Omnissiah, encoded them on punch-cards and magnotape. Each entreaty to the Machine-God was precise and controlled, laid out to a flawless standard.
What Canoness Sepherina was doing here was little more than noise, like trying to liberate hydrogen and oxygen from water by singing to it
Techpriest compares AdMech ritual to Sororitas ritual. implies that Admech rituals all actually are meant to have an impact - does this mean they're aware of the nature of the warpa nd how belief impacts it and take advantage of that? Or is it that they're more like the necrons and use their science to 'influence' the universe magically? It's not the first time an author has drawn (deliberately or accidentally) parallels between the AdMech and the Necrons in such aw ay.
It's also a bit silly to rule out the Sisters, since they have genuine faith that can have tangible effects but this is the AdMech...
up on the Tybalt was a self-contained portable laboratorium unit, a rare example of an STC construct built for the Mechanicus’s use. Normally, it would be one of the first pieces of hardware deployed to a planet’s surface...
STC portable lab.
The cargo shuttles had brought down a number of small ground vehicles, including Rhino transports for the Battle Sisters and more general all-terrain rovers for use where the heavy APCs could not venture. One of the skitarii had already observed and marked the location of an unarmed Venator-pattern scout car that would serve their needs. Tegas would have preferred a contra-gravity craft like a land speeder instead, but there was no other choice.
Vehicles on Sanctuary. Interesting they got ahold of some Venators for general purpose use, but probably not surprising. Also suggests the Techpriests build land speeders for themselves.
To underline the point, Tegas briefly switched back from millisecond-fast machine code to the laborious configurations of actual human language. Using the archaic dot-dash forms of orskode he broadcast to his assembled group.
AdMech communication. Note the 'millisecond' speed machine code - I'd guess that's the rate they process and transmit data between each other.
The crash of low-gauge bolt-rounds rumbled around the stone walls and muzzle flashes blasted staccato shadows across her sightline.
low gauge relative to what? Astartes bolters?
"Those are Sororitas issue gun-servitors."
Sororitas issue gun servitors. So they do make use of them.
.. Imogen and a few of the other Sisters laying down an arc of shots, but the rounds did little but chip away at the layers of armour-plate of the mobile gun-slaves. Sat atop heavy tracks like miniature tanks, they were mobile turrets controlled by the remnants of human helots wired into metal bodies.
The aforemntioned gun servitors.
The tungsten-carbide teeth of the blade whirred, drawing Imogen’s attention from across the corridor.
Miriya leaned in, pressing her full weight into the attack, and felt the sword cut into the ablative sheets, throwing out great streamers of sparks.
ablative armour on the servitors.
The autocannon blew fist-sized holes across the stone walls in a line of peaks and troughs. Miriya brought it to rest on the torso of its armour-plated companion and watched the dying helot blow the other gun-slave off its treads.
firepower of gun servitor autocannons.
hey were close now, and even as the realisation formed, a long, slow pulse of ultraviolet laser light flashed across his vision quadrant. Judging by the attenuation and frequency shift, the beam had been fired from an emitter less than a kilometre distant. The questor snaked one of his mechadendrites – the one with a lasing diode in the tip – up through the scout car’s canopy and flashed back a response pulse.
He measured the radiant index from the muzzle of a meson cutter.
Meson cutter. Some sort of AdMech industrial tool, I guess.
"I am detecting major internal damage within this module. Breakage of core hyperdynamic spatial linkage arrays, phase-effect nulls… That would explain why this piece did not deresolve with the rest of the corpse-metal when the unit was destroyed"
The AdMech seem to know quite a bit about necron technology.
"The necron species came to this planet several million years ago… Or at least, one faction of them did."
"Data that lends weight to a theory of differential sects within the alien society. It appears that the commonly-held opinion of the necrons as a monolithic culture, with little in the nature of divisive internal power blocs, is short-sighted at best."
"Construction, detail, cosmetic presentation, internal structure. All show numerous points of differentiation. Many of which are external and largely decorative, lending credence to the concept of tribal structures within the alien civilisation. Time-dating indicates that both groups of necrons are contemporaries."
"This theory has been aired before… It has been less than popular… But if we have proof…"
And this is how the difference between the old nad new Necron codexes is handled, as differing theories for their organization and society. I still wouldn't rule out the old stuff still applying in some way, the new codex leaves alot of latitude for that.
"But by the God-Emperor’s Grace, Thalassa lives. Her torso armour took the brunt of the barrage from the autocannons, protecting her vitals from a fatal level of damage. However, it saddens me to tell you that she will not walk again under her own locomotion. Our facilities here are crude and those remaining intact in the convent’s valetudinarium do not include tissue regeneration devices. I would recommend augmetic surgery upon her person after she has had time to recover."
The Sisters power armour can make the earlier gun-servitor autocannon damage survivable, albeit not withou tinjurty it seems. Also mention of 'tissue regeneration' tech - I guess they can regrow limbs or fresh organts to graft.
"One of my tech-guard managed to englobe it with a stasis sphere before it could fully awaken."
Stasis device to capture a tomb spyder.
Reinforced cyborg limbs went against wiry bone and muscle, one powered by energetic battery cells, the other by sheer force of madness.
Tech-guard are battery powered.
The ragged figure’s free hand vanished into the stained, dirty robes and came back with a black blade, a shortsword made of a material that only barely existed in the real world. It went into the soldier’s biogenerator implants, through the solar plexus with a sound like whispers.
Biogneerator implants - some sort of battery charger device? running things off human heat perhaps ? They certainly have that tech.
Also I supsect the short sword is a c'tan phase sword.
Ferren reverted back to a blink-code of panicked denials transmitted in the infra-red wavebands.
Tegas scanned the stress levels in the reply and discarded it.
More Admech scanning types. Infrared and truth-telling basically
He drew it open, and the action of light falling on the scroll’s surface brought it to life. A silent waterfall of images and complex mathematical structures fell across the revealed page. Infinitely long lines of text revealed themselves, resembling the circle-spar iconography of the necrontyr. The scroll showed orb-like panes of data growing out of each other, and when Tegas tilted it, the images changed to reveal even more script layered atop them. It moved past with incredible speed, a library’s weight in texts passing by in a second, more following, more and never ending.
Necron storage device, not unlike an Imperium dataslate, I'd guess.
They scrambled out into the dusty gloom and into a chorus of laser fire. Tegas saw streaks of bright yellow flashing up at the wall of stone above them, blasting divots out of the red rock in crackling concussions.
Laser fire from Tech guard blowing chunks in wall. ASsuming a 3-5 cm diameter hole we're probably tlaking a few kilojoules. Of course it depends on damage mechanisms.
Even as the demand was made, the questor spotted a blink of movement up on the sheer stone mass. A figure, humanoid in form, scaling the towering side of the arroyo in leaps and jerks, vanishing in and out of shadow as it moved. He immediately scanned in a dozen variant vision modes to pinpoint the intruder, but it was difficult to achieve. Something about the hooded cloak that hid the creature caused his sensor returns to simply slide off it.
Necron tech must include some sort of sensor distorting cloaking. Literal cloaking.
The biosynthetic innards of the soldier-cyborg formed a pool around it as the body twitched, mech-agumented nerve clusters still firing after meat-death.
Tech guard upgrades. Synthetic organic elements. Vat grown perhaps?
..plucked a small orb from her belt and tossed it into the air. The silver sphere described an arc that took it up into the rafters of the Great Chapel’s dome, and at the apex it burst into a glaring white clump of fire. The flare-pod began a slow drift back to the ground, but the stark illumination it threw out cast sharply defined shadows that shifted and wheeled.
flare pod . How it floats down like that, I have no idea. suspensor?
She checked her ammunition clip and brought her weapon to her shoulder, sighting down the optical scope.
Opticla scope on Miriya's bolter.
"Ananke reports a detection from the thermographic scanners. Four hundred metres now and closing."
Miriya’s finger tensed on the bolter’s trigger. "Are we to fire?" Sepherina had said the words and ordered them to combat alert – and the letter of that standing order included directives to shoot anything that refused to identify itself.
Implied bolter range of 400 m.
A dozen Sororitas guns were trained on the Venator, across from cover or down from the battlements. Any sudden motion, any threatening action, and the vehicle would be torn apart by bolter fire.
A dozen bolters can demolish a Venator.
"It is within my remit as a questor to appropriate military vehicles, should I wish to," Tegas sniffed.
Tegas can comandeer vehicles. I wonder if this puts him on the level of say, a Rogue Trader.
"The vehicle’s machine-spirit – if we could interpret its datum, we might be able to narrow down the area of transit. We know how long Tegas was gone for. If we can reckon the charge remaining in the power core."
Reminder of the battery-based nature of the Venator, as well as it apparently having a machien spirit of some kind. I'd guess its been gone hours at least/
"he digicompass continues to drift off true. Something in the rocks, a magnetic ore perhaps… It is interfering with the automap." She showed the display of the auspex unit in her hand. "It will take me only a few moments to sight and recalibrate."
Auspex with digicompass and automapping function.
They had been searching for several hours now, working through a grid pattern...
Sevearl hours endurance if not hours more for the Venator. Implied range of hundreds of km?
A Masakari-pattern variant of the smaller standard scout car, this vehicle differed from those used by the units of the Imperial Guard or the Adeptus Arbites. It had a longer wheelbase, an enclosed space for a driver, and instead of mounted lascannons, an aft compartment where six women could be carried in supremely uncomfortable proximity. But even a unit specially-adapted for use on desert worlds like Sanctuary 101 was finding this sortie hard going. Still, it was better suited than a heavy armoured vehicle, like a Rhino or an Immolator tank, which would have sunk to its deck in the powdery metallic sands.
The Venators used by the Sisters on this planet. The Guard in gneeral (not just the Elysians) and the Arbites seem to make use of them. This one is a troop transport variant, which probably suggests others could have such a design as well. Useful for an impromptu motorised company I imagine.
She looked away and bent to duck inside the rear of the Venator.
Verity was in there, whispering a prayer over a keyboard of brass buttons and a flickering pict-screen.
"It is merely that the vehicle’s machine-spirit is of a different order to the devices I am familiar with."
I guess it does have a computer-analogue of some kind inside it.
The hospitaller peered at the pict-screen and frowned. "A detection," she began. "A lasing beam, it appears. There was a brief moment of contact from a kilometre distant."
"A targeting sweep?"
"No," Verity went on. "The beam was too weak."
I'm guessing the Venator has sensors as well to pick up the laser, unless the vox picked it up (but if so they would knwo its not a targeting beam and is for communications purposes immediately) Also implies there is some sort of weapon with a km range that needs a targeting beam like that.
Slowly, the weapon-arms of the gun-slaves and the laser carbines of the skitarii rose to a guard position.
She moved to draw up her gun in return, but the instant she moved, a trio of actinic blue sighting beams threaded through the air to dance across her breastplate. She lowered the bolter again and they winked out.
Skitarii have las carbines and there are sighting/targeting beams. That are visible, and blue.
His shifting crimson eyes scanned the Venator, doubtless picking out those within via thermographic vision cues, like the preysight of the Sabbat helmets.
Preysight described as thermographic.
Laser strikes fused sand into clumps of dirty silica at her heels as she ran towards the rear of the Venator. She bit back a scream of pain as one shot found its mark and melted into the ceramite and flexsteel of her shoulder pauldron.
Lasweapons seem to be mostly thermal... assuming a 3-5 cm diamter hole melted we might be looking at 100-200 kilojoules. Nott the most efficient kill mechanism, however
If we assume the sand is metallic (as alluded to before) you might get 300 kj. Alot depends on density and diameter, so both calcs should be treated as very much order of magnitude estimates (EG tens to hundreds of kj)
Also Sisters power armour is ceramite and 'flexsteel'.
Miriya put her foot on the running board and discharged her bolter one-handed, firing blind into the broken lines of the Mechanicus soldiers
Miriya fires her bolter one handed.
, Imogen threw herself at the open hatch and landed on the deck, las-bolts cutting crimson pits in the hull of the vehicle
Lasgun blasting holes in the Venator, dpeth and diameter unknown.
Ferren calculated his options within a microsecond, evaluating and considering all possibilities he could see, and discarding those that did not suit him.
Calculating processing speed of the tech priest's implants.
The younger Sororitas, her shoulders and head poking out of the roof hatch, gave a sudden, savage jerk before her knees gave way and she fell into the compartment. Xanthe came back trailing a mist of hot, pink vapour and the stink of burnt iron. Her face was a ruin of blackened meat, cored straight through by a las-bolt.
Lasbolt from Skitarii carbine cooks the head of a sister without blasting it apart. If we go by flash burns call it 100-1000 j per sq cm as per here
, with the upper limit representing an effective blowtorch, the lower end being severe third degree burns close enough to igniting clothing. assuming a 20x20 cm face, with about 50% greater coverage for the other sides.. 600 sq cm. at least 50-60 kj, up to 500-600 kj for the other end of the spectrum.
If we go by volume and assume somewhere between scalding and boiling (100-300 kj per kg) and a 4-5 kg head, we're talking 400 kj to 1.5 MJ. Again bear in midn this is a purely thermal weapon, with little or no mechanical/explosive effects, and again it should be treated as an order of magnitude estimate. nonetheless, tens to hundreds of kj at least per bolt seems likely.
None would dare venture into the laboratorium, for the law of the Ministorum classed the module as de facto territory of Mars, a tiny embassy of the Mechanicus light years from the solar system. Tegas would be within his rights to class any invasion of that space as an act of war.
AdMech Labs are considered sovereign AdMech territory.
Tegas had already absorbed every teraquad of data his errant protégé had gathered about the device, but he had ordered his own retinue to perform the same suite of tests again.
"teraquads' of data in an unkonw timeframe (hours maybe?) Useful for storage but not much for processing or data transmission I'd gather, except we're maybe talking tens of terabytes - assuming the same definition of 'quad' as before was used.
If Ferren’s data was correct, if his interpretations were sound, it seemed to suggest that the scroll-device was operating in discontinuous phase with the rest of space-time. It was acting through quantum linkages to gain access to instrumentality at levels undreamed of in Imperial computational devices. Information, stored in the very structure of subatomic particles. An infinity of facts, entire histories encoded within it; and most amazingly, all this on something that might be a trivial gewgaw to the beings who had manufactured it.
The nature and operation of the Necron scroll storage device thingy.
She could hear the rat-scramble skittering of the Mechanicus’s soldiery following them, inexorably tracking the fleeing women with thermal scopes, pheremonic scans and other sensing technologies that the Battle Sisters could only guess at.
AdMech tracking gear.
He had only middling combat prowess beyond the reams of match-move data he had downloaded from the central processing matrix of his warrior squads...
The scouts leading the search party down the tunnels were beaming back their targeting data to the rest of the group. Sound sensors cut a picture out of the gloom, listening for the motion of boots on stone, the whine of power armour, even the thudding of human hearts
AdMech data sharing by combat units, including targeting data. They're also using passive auditory sensors - possibly sonar? They can pick up human hearts.
The panes of glassy material, as much as they resembled fused silica, were actually some kind of extruded metallic crystal with a tensile strength greater than steel. In months of examination, none of Ferren’s explorator team had been able to uproot them or gain insight into their functionality. And while they were proof against all but the most powerful ballistic rounds, the Mechanicus expedition had learned early on that they were transparent to las-bolts.
Interesting comment on Necron materials science
Ferren’s train of thought was halted by a sudden surge of new inputs from the sensing palps at the tips of his mechadendrite cluster. A spike in exotic radiation came from nothing, spent neutrinos and quark-flux particles creating an invisible mist that could only be perceived by one with the eyes of a machine.
The tech-priest beamed an interrogative to the communal data pool and found he was not the only one detecting the same variance. Even as he communicated with his minions in microsecond-swift binaric pulses, comparing readings and building a theory, he began to register another effect.
Sensors detecging texotic radiation, neutrinos, and quarks. Also theorising and communicating/trandmistting data in microsecond pulses, again showing transmission and reaction time for the implants.
The electromagnetic force did not diminish; it became uncomfortable for the skitarii and the other adepts, causing misfires in their neural implants and stutters across the interface of their brain-augmentation connections. Ferren took an involuntary step backwards, his accelerated thoughts cycling, becoming glitchy as the energy discharge grew stronger. He tried to engage his tempest shields, but the force was strong, overwhelming them. His deep logic cores began to auto-deactivate in order to protect vital data such as his persona matrix and his primary memories.
It was hard to concentrate. The pulse was like blades being drawn across the cords of the tech-priest’s cerebral implants.
Admech neural/brain agumentation implants - all are vulnerable to EM
he question became moot as some of the tech-guard gathered enough of their wits to fire on the warriors. Crimson light flashed, las-bolts threading from the barrels of beam carbines and into the arrowhead formations of the necrons.
A few of the machines stumbled and faltered, ignored by their companions. The others raised their weapons in perfect concert and returned fire.
Emerald flame, eldritch and crackling, engulfed the closest group of skitarii and began the work of disintegrating them. Verity’s mouth dropped open in shock. Where the tech-guard troopers had organic flesh, their skin and nerves, their meat and bone were flensed apart and flashed instantly to puffs of ash. The pure cyborg parts of them, the implants and the biomodules, became blackened pieces of slag, spilling onto the dusty floor as they collapsed and perished.
Skitarii vs Necrons. Gauss flayers FTW.
Also the flayers here, much like in Fall of Damnos, exhibit thermal like qualities. Although as I said it may be purely a side effect of the gauss effect.
The odour of harsh chemicals, of hexogene rings and complex nitrotoluene clusters, assailed his sensing pallet. Inside, there were racks of metal cylinders, each marked with warning trefoils and warding runes; geo-mag charges of various explosive potentials, used to crack the recalcitrant rock during excavations and deep digs.
HE charges. Hexogene probably means RDX, which also goes by the name Hexogene. "nitrotoluene" probably refers to di or Tri nitrotolulene, which is basically TNT or its predecessor.
The glancing energy bolt swept over him and severed the tech-priest’s right leg at the hip, throwing Ferren into a headlong tumble that was arrested only by a collision with the stub of a half-buried boulder. He doused all pain receptors the moment he was struck, but it was too late to stop the initial surge of agony. Ferren scrambled, a mess of torn, dirty robes and spindly iron-black limbs, flailing around like a swatted insect unable to right itself.
The shot had been random, a miss that had taken him instead of its intended target..
I'm guessing its a gauss shot, but it might be lasfire too.
Gauss fire shattered the rocks they had chosen as their cover, driving them out to duck and run among the glittering panes of glass. Miriya was wary of the strange portal-panels. No more warriors had emerged from the doorways beyond them after the initial invasion group had come through, but there was no way to know if more were on their way.
Danae moved and fired with the meltagun, shooting from her hip, panning it about in a sharp arc that engulfed the glass panes and the machine-forms alike. The panes she hit slagged and misted, the fires within dying, but they did not shatter. Miriya could not help but wonder what kind of exotic matter could resist the sun-hot power of a melta blast.
Reemember those clear panes that were mentioned to be transparent to lasfire but impenetrable by kinetics? These are those again. Apparently meltas can't go thorugh them either, so the SoB meltas are probably not of the microwave vareity. Beyond that its just more proof of how durable Necron materials are.
Also gauss weapons make a mockery of stony cover.
Miriya executed a shot from half-cover and placed a three-round burst of mass-reactive bolts in the chest of an advancing warrior. The steel skeleton was blown back off its clawed feet and it crashed to the ground in a ruined heap.
And then, to her shock, the thing Miriya thought she had killed rose again. The grievous wound across its torso was shrinking, the metal plates there flowing like mercury, what could only be splines and wires beneath knitting back together to undo the injury.
Necron healing from a 3-round burst from a sororitas bolter. This being a James Swallow novel, its likely they're firing non-explosive bolt rounds as well.
She thumbed her bolter’s fire-select switch to its fully automatic setting and squeezed the trigger. Rounds thundered from the gun and punctured the skull of the advancing mechanoid, this time splintering the steel into shimmering fragments, decapitating it. Even though it was robbed of a mouth with which to scream, the necron finally emitted a death-howl. It was a grating, static-laced skirl of noise, a synthetic parody of a shriek that vibrated out from its entire body.
Full auto-headshot seems to hurt the thing at least. But no phase-out yet.
Two of them pivoted to fire and the black sword spun. Viridian sparks flared as the muzzles of gauss flayers were cut away by the passage of the blade. The dark edge slashed at the machines, opening them to the air. Verity saw bisected parts of a necron warrior fall away, the cut ends polished and mirror-bright. The mechanoids collapsed to their knees, shuddering. She watched them grasping for severed limbs, trying to reconnect them to fresh stumps.
She raised the black sword and held it threateningly at the Sister Superior. The blade did not resemble any kind of metal; it was like a river of ink, a shadow made solid.
the weird necron-made melee weapon again. It seems effective at hampering their regeneration, whatever it is. I'm not sure if its because it fused the edges, or it has some other secondary effect that hampers it.
The transition could only have lasted for a fraction of a second, but from Sister Miriya’s point of view it felt like an eternity. The watery green light engulfed her, seeming to lap over her flesh like a slow tide of oil, and then everything became distorted.
Her perception was twisted and useless. She saw dreamy shapes, colours and synesthesic effects that her mind could not interpret, giddy vivid impressions that could have been motion, heat, terror or some mixture of all.
This portal, this alien gateway, was not meant for unprotected humans, and she could sense it trying to reject her. Miriya felt as if the power of the thing was actively repelling her flesh and blood, acting on it like the disparate poles of a magnet. Her skin crawled with sickening sensations that threatened to crack the Battle Sister’s iron resolve. This tunnel through nothingness skirted close to the psychic maelstrom of warp space, and she could feel the incredible pressure of the immaterium just beyond the walls of her own mind. It was so close.
And then, just when it seemed as if she could stand it no more, she was staggering, her boots ringing on a metal deck. Miriya tried to open her eyes, and found her skin layered with a coating of frost that crackled as she moved. Patches of steaming ice covered her wargear, sloughing off in sheets as she stumbled.
I think this is a dolmen gate, given the webway access but I'm not 100% sure. It may just be some sort of portal or something - nothing says that Dolmen gates are the only means by which the Necrons tap the webway, or maybe they just have different kinds of portals.
She brought up the dark edge of the voidblade in her hand, slow and careful. ‘See!’ she spat.
The periphery of the sword’s cutting field, existing a microsecond out of phase with the rest of the weapon, buzzed as she lay it across the palm of her other hand. The entropic aura disintegrated the rags wrapped around her skin and made a perfect line along her dirty flesh. Bright crimson blood welled up and ran in streaks down her fingers.
The weapon is a voidblade.
Verity touched the auspex unit hanging at her belt. In a moment of clarity she had turned the device’s memory spools to an automatic recording state; there was no telling what they might find in here, and if they should make it back to safety, a log of what they encountered might prove invaluable as intelligence.
Auspex recording function.
"Kora peered at one of the displays. It was filled with alien iconography, trailing down its span in cascades of unreadable text. ‘Not enough? An army of thousands, and you say it is not enough?"
"Each of these represents a single cohort of combat forces. One group, like the Monolith brigade above."
Cassandra’s eyes widened as she took in the count of the screens. "But there are… There must be hundreds of displays here."
"And this is but one monitoring bay. There are many more."
"Tell us how many of these Light-Forsaken machines are sleeping here. A legion’s worth? More?"
" This complex is a staging area for invasion on a cosmic scale. A hub at the centre of the wheel, only one of many seeded in the deep past, left to wait out the aeons. Here they sleep, and they are maintained and prepared for eventual revivication. An army that numbers in the billions."
"If what you say is so… With those portals, they could strike en masse in an instant. No force sent by lander or teleporatrium could hope to match such numbers…"
"We have seen enough xenos here to invade a dozen worlds." Cassandra shouldered her weapon. "And you tell us there are more?"
The scope of the necron forces on Sanctuary 101. We don't know exactly how 'common' this scale of force is for the Necrons, although the Sisters seem to think billions of teleporting 'Crons is a very dire threat. And the revenant (as they call her so far) implies that this is perhaps a major world, but not the only such world. There may be thousands, or even millions of such.. which suggests Necron forces on the order of trillions or quadrillions. We may get more clarification later.
"This complex exists… inside the Obsidian Moon?"
"Impossible," snorted Imogen. "The Tybalt passed within a hundred kilometres of the surface of that satellite. A base of this magnitude would have been detected!"
"Would it?" came the question. "The machines alter space-time with their arcane technologies, they twist dimension and void. You felt that in the gateways. They do the same here, coring out the moon as their hibernaculum, building something of impossible aspect where it should not exist."
The billions strong necron complex lies inside a moon of indeterminate size, and it sounds like its a glorified 'bag of holding' effect (bigger on the inside than outside) - I'd actually think the moon is a gateway to a bigger locale elsewhere, which explains the connection between it and the (dolmen?) gateways. The gateways are also space/time folding tech, it seems.
In orbs made of cloudy, metallic glass there were corpses opened with all the detail of an anatomist’s textbook. Miriya’s knowledge of flesh and blood, human or otherwise, was limited to the knowledge of how to do harm to it and the most basic field medicine. About her, she saw layers of skin and bone, nerve and sinew flayed away, and suspended by unseen means. Museum-perfect displays that were part art-work, part experiment. The Battle Sister was reminded of the exploded technical diagrams of gun components she had memorised as a Novice Cantus. But instead of frame, coil and lever, these things were aorta, marrow and organ meat.
There were dozens of the spheres, many of them containing exhibits so finely dismantled that it was impossible to know what species they might have originally come from. She saw what could have been parts of a greenskin, the dull blue hue of a tau, or perhaps they were all human remains, the last of the women who had died defending Sanctuary 101.
"This is an arcade dedicated to cruelty, ordered by something that sees no horror in what has been done. No more than a child might pluck wildflowers and press them into the pages of a notebook."
"Why?" Miriya asked, the question escaping her. She crossed to the nearest orb-pod and peered at a circular display floating near it. Alien text filled the disc, and she wondered what it might say. Was it the record of the agonies of a long-dead Battle Sister, captured after the invasion? Or coldly harvested genetic data, preserved for future iterations of necrontyr to study, so they might better destroy any humans they encountered?
"I thought the machines were only killers," she went on. "All records speak of them as turning their victims to ash. What purpose does a… harvest like this serve?"
Necron retcon on the 'harvesting' angle obviously. Still pretty creepy if you ask me, and the only possible way is if they decided to anal probe you with a voidblade or something.
The architecture of the construction was like everything else inside the Obsidian Moon, all time-soiled metals surrounding carved rectilinear ribs of heavy stone – but where those shapes seemed to at least adhere to some rational, if alien, design ethos, this thing was an impossibility.
The Sister Superior tried to take it all in with a single glance, but it would not come to her. Like an optical illusion, lines seemed to begin and end on themselves, hard-cut corners forming into angles that collapsed upon one another. It made her head swim to try and hold the shape of the thing in her mind’s eye. An inverted tetrahedral surround of old iron, it stood bigger than the central donjon of the Sanctuary convent, glinting with flickers of power. Dull, unearthly light gathered in the open framework of the thing, the same brilliant green hue they had witnessed elsewhere.
Cassandra was the first to make the leap of concept. "It is another portal." She glanced at the hooded woman and the revenant nodded once.
"Very different to the simple doorways we passed through," she intoned. "This is an engine of transmission far more powerful, capable of instantaneous conduction across vast tracts of interstellar space. A Dolmen Gate."
"Where does it lead?" She dreaded the answer to the question.
"Everywhere," said the revenant, retreating into the shadows. "The dolmen bores down into the matrix of the universe, the grid of line and power that underpins all things.’ She cocked her head. ‘The eldar have a name for that network. They call it 'the webway'."
Cassandra uttered a curse. "I have seen the Harlequins use that magick," she grated. "Tunnels through space, big enough to bring tanks and war machines from worlds away. You say the machines know this lore as well? How is that possible?"
"It operates by no means I can understand. The necrons are slicing into the ethereal realm with this device, but the mere act corrodes the stone it is made from." She pointed towards the edges of the massive gate mechanism; parts of it were laced with cracks and fragments drifted about it in pockets of null gravity.
The Dolmen gates. I guess the earlier teleportation device wasnt the same thing, but a related technology.
"It is the reason for this entire construct. The layers of space run thin here. The barriers between our realm and the conduits of the webway lie close to the surface in the Kavir system."
"They draw power from a vast energy core to keep it open a crack."
"Attacks would come without warning," said Cassandra. "Legions of these war machines phasing in out of nowhere..." She paused, considering the scale of it. "God-Emperor… The Imperium would be defenceless."
"Simultaneous mass invasion, from here to the shores of Holy Terra herself." said the revenant. "The xenos would slake the thirst of their warlords with human dead."
More on the Dolmen gate and the danger it represents. I wonder who the 'warlords' they refer to are? The Lords? Or the C'Tan?
"Why did you do this, alien?" She indicated the glassy orbs. "What do you hope to learn from such acts of spite?"
"To feed well the food stock must be tasted. And there was also the puzzle to be solved."
"What puzzle?" Verity was unable to stay silent.
The creature Ossuar made a noise that might have been a sigh of pleasure. "How it was you came to evolve. The answer still eludes."
The R&D/Experimentation angle makes sense as far as the Harvesting retcon goes, but who the fuck are they feeding? These 'Warlords' alluded to earlier?
Broad-shouldered and possessed of blank skull masks, they danced around the Sororitas, hovering on pillars of etherium energy, cocking their heads as they examined the humans. Hands that were little more than blade-sharp manipulators clenched and unclenched as they considered the intruders.
Necron wriaths. Not sure what the etherium energy is but it is antigrav for them.
In the confines of the gallery, the fight became a storm of fire and darkness. Danae’s meltagun forged lines of solar flame that lashed at the necron creature, and in return he unleashed black beams of negative energy that froze air molecules to snow in their wake. Verity dashed into cover as Miriya fired true, marching rounds up the chest of the machine to beat at its near-featureless face.
This Ossuar, this creature that called itself ‘the cryptek’, swatted the rounds away as if they were nagging insects and rolled the staff in his talons. A sinister shroud of oily smoke emerged from the rod and flowed towards them in a towering wave.
Cryptek vs Sororitas.