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Quote of the Week: "History teaches us that men and nations behave wisely once they have exhausted all other alternatives." - Abba Eban, Israeli statesman (1915-2002)

A Squelch of Empires (crossover)

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Eleventh Century Remnant
PostPosted: 2009-01-22 08:06pm 

Jedi Council Member


Joined: 2006-11-20 07:52am
Posts: 2233
Location: Scotland
Thanks for that.

And yes, it was an AT-AT, not one of Black Prince's complement as she no longer has a garrison base to deploy, more likely one of Disenfranchiser's- which means the rest of Deep Field Recon were chosen for their similarly open minds and willingness to improvise and adapt.

it was holding out one front foot after having shifted it's weight slightly, it's paddle cleats/toes/things looking vaguely finger- like.

I actually am strongly tempted to start inventing stuff for the GE ground forces, and the first two items on the list would be, one, refitting a suitable repulsortank with legs, or a suitable walker- possibly the tripod AT-AP- with a repulsor unit, to create a hybrid that can use the traction and ground pressure of a walker unit to push it's way through a shield bubble, then operate on repulsors once inside and move faster than a sleepy sloth.

Two, uprate a repulsortank with a fighter class repulsor unit, hopefuly pushing the speed up from the 300km/h range of most of them to something closer to starfighter in-atmosphere performance, 800 to 1200km/h for most. (adding an actual ion drive would be going a step too far.)

Not sure that a dive into the completely unknown would be the best kind of combat test for them, though. There are definitely two rude shocks to come, though. Firstly for the forces of the GE, when they try to match combat walkers against IoM combat walkers- Titans, in other words.

Now, I'm very old school in that regard- started playing back in the 'modular hardpoint 4/1/A' days. Powerfist? Hah. The only proper armament for a Nemesis variant Warlord is four defence lasers. Two and two multilaunchers for a Deathbringer. Surprisingly enough, the Cinereus Cursoris agree with me. Not sure an AT-AT can hack it against that kind of company.

On the other hand, the IoM are not going to be amused with the horde of repulsortanks they're going to have to deal with. Should be good, messy fun.
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LadyTevar
PostPosted: 2009-01-22 09:14pm 

White Mage


Joined: 2003-02-12 11:59pm
Posts: 17483
Location: Tahalshia Manor
Just the fact that the IMPs had pre-fab bases was amusing enough.
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fusion
PostPosted: 2009-01-22 10:45pm 

Jedi Knight


Joined: 2006-03-28 11:35pm
Posts: 604
Location: Capital System, Mid-Childa
Hello I just read the entire fic and it is enjoyable, but I have a question:
Where did the air come from? the Imps?
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Singular Quartet
PostPosted: 2009-01-22 11:47pm 

Sith Marauder


Joined: 2002-07-04 05:33pm
Posts: 3896
Location: This is sky. It is made of FUCKING and LIMIT.
fusion wrote:
Hello I just read the entire fic and it is enjoyable, but I have a question:
Where did the air come from? the Imps?


Imperial Garrison. I suppose its because its a small enough chunk of rock. Hell, they may have even upped the gravity on the rock, but that's something I doubt. Or the air could just be around the Garrison, also possible since the Garrison would have its own thearter shield.
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fractalsponge1
PostPosted: 2009-01-23 12:05am 

Jedi Knight


Joined: 2006-04-30 08:04pm
Posts: 949
Well, I have a heavy biped walker if you're looking for something with a bit more punch than an AT-AT :P Though probably still doesn't mount full light MTL level weapons like a Titan. Actually, is it MTL-level? I've heard that they have warship-grade weapons, but that can be a pretty wide range.
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Eleventh Century Remnant
PostPosted: 2009-01-23 07:54am 

Jedi Council Member


Joined: 2006-11-20 07:52am
Posts: 2233
Location: Scotland
One problem solved, I am now mechanised again. Wierd sort of cascade failure-after the car ended up spewing oil all over the road, I had to take it in to get fixed, finally got it back later and more expensive (never mind the cannon, where's the 'whimper' smiley...) than expected, replaced oil filter housing, oil cooler, some pipework, fan belt, which fraying and knocking off the engine's timing might have caused oil pressure surges that were the last straw to an already badly corroded part. Ah, the joys of life.

We are now (UK) officially in recession, apparently. No wonder I write fantasy and science fiction; reality and the present day are not all they're cracked up to be.

Anyway, the air was baked out of the rock the base is now standing on- with no ecology to support it, and not enough gravity to hold on to it, it's not viable in the long term.

The problem with that heavy biped- AT-BT?- is deployment, I think; the dropships required for them, I doubt they would fit into an Imperator class destroyer's hangars. Most of the space required for Black Prince's refits and upgrades actually came from the elimination of the standard type dropships and the adoption of a much simpler flying saucer type the ground units ride on rather than in.

A Venator would be useful for the purpose, but the two assigned to Deep Field Recon are long range conversions, most of their bay space taken up with additional fuel silos. I don't think there's a ship in the forward force that could carry one. Torchbearer, on the other hand, has bay space for at least sixteen divisions, probably thirty-two. More than enough room for a leaven of superheavies.

Titans' weaponry is debatable; on one hand, there's the issue of starship point defence using weapons larger than a Titan, on the other there's the more or less explicit statement that 'silos mounting several defence lasers' add up to a Lance battery.
Then we have the bit from way back in the heresy era, suggesting Titan standard weapons themselves are grossly overbuilt, with massive factors of safety, to withstand centuries or millennia of use and abuse- and presumably could be much more effective if they were designed for lower longevity. This may also be true of starship mounts, though.

On the whole, I think there's a lot more variation in there than the tabletop recognises, and some units are significantly more powerful than others, even those nominally of the same class.
I don't think MTL firepower, though. Not from a single shot from a single barrel. From a coordinated salvo from the entire legion, maybe.

I can definitely see that line turning up, though;
Imperial titan fires turbolaser destructor at AT-AT. Damaged AT-AT reels back, tries to find cover. 'Hah! Taste the power of our turbolasers, xenos filth!'
'No, no, you've got it all wrong. That's not a turbolaser. This is a turbolaser.' (Main axial battery, one shot in surface support...)
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fractalsponge1
PostPosted: 2009-01-23 10:31am 

Jedi Knight


Joined: 2006-04-30 08:04pm
Posts: 949
Eleventh Century Remnant wrote:
(Main axial battery, one shot in surface support...)


Hopefully it's a long range duel then; 320 teratons will be unkind to just about everything.

I know what you mean about the heavy walker - I took someone's idea and actually called it AT-SE - "shock enforcer." The 4xAT-AT dropship from the inside the worlds book would likely be able to take two or three folded, but I pretty much couldn't see it deploying from an ISD either. Conducor - well, one of those ships could probably field some of these: http://radojavor.deviantart.com/art/Imp ... moodonly=1.

Ground combat, depending on how it's played out, could get very amusing. If the tyrannids or orks ever come into play, imagine a cluster-bomb of seismic charges going off - would a annihilate a swarm pretty spectacularly (could just do orbital strike, but that wouldn't be as cool looking). Lots of color and light to be had in those scenes. Bloody Guard are going to get slaughtered though; seems much of the strategy and ranges involved are WWII scale, even if the metal is heavier.

There are a few big gaps in the GE ground forces. Light walkers would definitely be one category - see at few in the comics, but limited elsewhere. Also proper artillery below SPHA-T. AT-ATs can do some, but can't hit over the horizon. And heavy repulsortanks. There's the "Imperial" type shoeboxes with embellishments, but nothing like the "fighter" tank from battlefront at a larger scale.

A hybrid walker/lift vehicle sounds cool but might be very inefficient, except maybe as a scout/infiltration unit. You'll have duplicate drive mechanisms, and probably need a souped up lift unit to take the weight of the legs. Vicious circle of cost and complexity then between needing more power to handle armor and legs and more space for better repulsorgrav units. That and you'd probably need a fair bit of space to tuck the legs in for a clean outline for low-level repulsor flight.

We never got any hull 721 ground combat btw, I think some is owed ;).
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Vianca
PostPosted: 2009-01-23 01:44pm 

Padawan Learner


Joined: 2006-01-20 09:00am
Posts: 301
fractalsponge1 wrote:
Ground combat, depending on how it's played out, could get very amusing. If the tyrannids or orks ever come into play, imagine a cluster-bomb of seismic charges going off - would a annihilate a swarm pretty spectacularly (could just do orbital strike, but that wouldn't be as cool looking). Lots of color and light to be had in those scenes.

You could take a page from Rebel Dream I/II (New Jedi Order) and use Wedge Antilles his plan.

Drow them in while fighting them off, then clear the aria around your perimeter with a Orbital Strike/Bombardment. :angelic:
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Eleventh Century Remnant
PostPosted: 2009-02-10 09:13am 

Jedi Council Member


Joined: 2006-11-20 07:52am
Posts: 2233
Location: Scotland
More around the table this time, I think the seeds of disaster are definitely being sown though-

A Squelch of Empires ch 10

Lennart, if he had been able to give an honest answer to the question of how he felt at the moment, would have said ‘maintaining- with difficulty.’
I should have taken more drugs when I was a student, he thought. More practise at altered states of mind could come in really handy about now.

Was this- inadvertently- what I’d been doing all along, he asked himself, and only now in an environment drenched with psychic power do I actually realise it? If anything about it at all can actually be called a fact. I can feel them radiating at me.
Don’t project, above all don’t project. Have I been doing subconscious battle meditation for years, projecting a unified sense of time and urgency to my command?
I hope not. It’s possible, but I hope I, and they, are better than that. What’s in these people’s minds?

Cautious optimism in some, rabid greed in others. Hate of the unknown, fear of the unknown- and of the specific, what they saw us do; if it was up to their gut instinct they would be shooting at us already.
Which is an important lesson to bear in mind; they aren’t rabid, they are perfectly capable of planning and reacting competently. Not that you would suspect it from looking at them.

Never before have I felt so close to the Imperial way, Lennart thought. Felt as if I understood it so thoroughly; perhaps what this situation really needs is equal intransigence and determination on this side of the table, an inflexible, jargon spouting Correct Thought- marinated old bastard.
No, both immovable objects would immediately resort to what they hoped would be irresistible force and we’d be shooting at each other inside five minutes.


Which may happen, anyway, looking at this lot. Fortunately this seemed to be the rearguard element; the majority of the frothing maniacs were off with the advance party trying to break into Imperial- no, that made no sense, GE space. The Galactic Empire and the Imperium of Man.
The frothing maniacs being away said a lot, considering the degree of distinction of the people left behind.

What would sanity consist of in such a situation- or was that even the word he was looking for? A determination to defend their own against the aliens from the outer dimensions was entirely rational and it would lead to bloody disaster.
Shock resistance played a large part of the quality he was trying to name, and he had the uneasy feeling that the locals, considering how many monstrosities inhabited the fringes of their world, might be better at it.

A willingness to deal levelly with the unknown? An individual identity separate from their faction, their state, the Official Belief? What he had referred to as the degree of distinction.
The political officer who had had the guts to be first in, he had some spring in his head, a complex splashy set of thought patterns; interestingly, he believed himself to be a coward.

There were actually too many of them to fit round the table; Lennart had been expecting a dozen or so plus protective detail, there were over fifty, and covertly elbowing each other out of the way trying to get a seat- there were a few gunmen too, but it seemed the majority of them expected to have a say.
What was the gloriously inelegant Tionese phrase? “Cake and arse party”?


There were several huge men, or what looked like men- Astartes, they were apparently called- and some of them were radiating dull loathing, the one in the flat matt black was trying to add up what he saw around him into a coherent picture, but the one in the right-angled multicolour was factoring and differentiating.
One, a rank and file soldier of some peculiar kind, was…just plain weird. No mental presence at all, not even involuntary, he was a dark space in the warp. Fascinating.

On the away team side of the table, he was not alone. Definitely good from one point of view- there were large men with very large guns on the other side, and if they had a clear superiority of force some of them were not above going for it there and then.
On the other hand, some of his own side might not be above the same temptation.

It was largely a navy operation, so the relative handful of negociators were mostly starfleet; a logistics branch officer- the Commander in charge of the tankers, an Engineer-Constructor from Venturer- the long range Venator conversion, a com-scan officer from the EW ship Glacier, a functionary from the Department of Military Research who was in all probability a Ubiqtorate operative, Disenfranchiser’s exec, and himself. The rest of the detachment was to ‘represent the interests’ of the Marines.


Largely to wind them up, out of sheer light-hearted malice, Lennart posed the question to the assembled entities of the Imperium of Man; ‘Which of you is actually in charge?’
The result was a slow motion playground fight. Each of the major faction groups promptly began it’s own internal bunfight with crosstalk. That took several minutes to sort out; one of the AT-ATs started shuffling it’s feet, that seemed to bring a little urgency to the proceedings.

That at least provisionally settled, the appointed leaders of the factions all waited for someone else to stick their neck out first; after a long pause, three of them separately managed to convinced themselves no-one else was going to and said, simultaneously, ‘I am.’
They all started shouting at each other, even the ones who had agreed to take a back seat for this occasion, and Lennart looked carefully at the ones who weren’t taking part in this outburst.

One of them was the commissar who had been first in, and he was visibly resisting the impulse to facepalm, albeit with some difficulty; one of the others was the gorilla sized, tartan power armoured man, if they still counted as such- if there was a touch of the feral about them, then it consisted at least in part of horse sense.


Interesting, too, that they’re not afraid to expose their internal differences and divisions to us, Lennart ruminated; either this is ingrained habit, or they genuinely don’t care what we know, or- if this was a military operation, I’d say they were offering us an apparent unit boundary to strike at while in fact laying an ambush.
If thy really are that organised, street theatre must be their national sport, because they’re unreasonably good at pretending to be a shower of uncoordinated prima donnas.

Is this in fact their system of checks and balances? If communication is psionic, that means largely unreliable, so local authorities and local attitudes reign. De facto neofeudalism, held together- and how effectively?- by pan- Imperial institutions whose main means of arbitration was to all intents and purposes the interdepartmental faction fight.
Not all that distinct from the system Tarkin was trying to bring in, in fact.
Jumping to conclusions by trying to apply a familiar template? Possibly. On the other hand, that very decentralisation meant that there was no guarantee what was true here was true anywhere else.

The cyborgs- galactic society had a low opinion of them, regarding them as a perversion and a violation of a species’ natural form; what was the old Jedi take on it, ‘more machine than man, now- twisted and evil’? Looking at the robed beings, cybertentacles, robot arms, metal bits sticking out, Lennart could believe it was true.
The giants were bioengineered warriors, space marines- not an organic part of the navy though, a fiefdom in their own right.


His alien- xenos- prisoners had filled in a few of the facts, meant that he wasn’t going into this totally cold; that flash of psychic contact to begin with had been invaluable, it established a rapport that they would never have reached if they had had to rely on words.
The majority of the aliens, although they must have realised they were on a recon run, to observe and analyse, already seemed to have decided that the outsiders were the enemy.

Go, discover the unknown, and who cares what it actually is, pick a fight with it anyway. An attitude that spoke of a glacier swift grasp of the facts, a micrometrically penetrating analysis and a mailed fist of tolerance.
Well, I did the same, Lennart thought, trying to be fair about it- but to a bunch of tentacle waving, fanged devourers that had just as little care for anyone else they might happen to eat. In this case, tolerance may be misplaced.

In order to stop them escaping- and they seemed to take an unusually severe reaction to the stun bolts- they had been encased in foamcrete, looking like giant long headed pointy eared blob men.
Strangely, being laughed at was the only thing that got them to open up at all; they looked thoroughly ridiculous, most reacted angrily, some counter-mocking, some mercurially lashing back from one viewpoint to another.


Only Elissa- the one whose mind he had touched, well jumped up and down on really- actually spoke in coherent sentences. There was a cautionary tale in that; he had tried to pronounce her full name, and being from a more diverse and broader based culture, had managed it. She had been horrified; even more so when he tried speaking in the fractured echoes of her own language he had picked up from her mind.

She had insisted that they speak in gothic, and that he use the short form of her name, because it felt skin-crawlingly wrong for anyone other than one of their own kind to say it in full. Added that that was what they invariably required from the humans of the Imperium of Man.
He had objected on the grounds that he wasn’t from the Imperium, and she had said that he could at least let her try to comprehend him by starting from somewhere within her worldview.

They had had words about that, he pointing out how hopelessly blinkered an approach that was, she defending the ways of her people, until she realised just how voluble she was being and curled up into a ball.
An option that wasn’t open to her escort; he still wasn’t sure what to do with them, or their absurd equipment.
Apparently, her people lived a long time- centuries at least- but for fear of the Force, they lived a strange helical kind of life. No, for fear of the Warp; might as well start taking his own advice and use the local terms for the local phenomena.

Anyway, her people- the marines had already started referring to them as ‘pointyheads’ but if he was going to avoid being a prisoner of his own preconceptions, he really should call them Eldar- had to keep moving, had to keep changing vocation, changing belief, changing world view, changing friends and enemies, to avoid developing patterns that could doom them.
That actually sounded like if not a fate worse than death, then at least a fate equivalent to fairly severe maiming, but Lennart had to admit that he felt especially strongly because right now he was struggling to hold on to his identity.

Her people almost reminded him of the Gree; a pale shadow of their former selves, still marginally important because of their knowledge and technology, but operationally irrelevant- without the numbers or the industry to make any real difference to the current state of the galaxy.

That, and they seemed to hold a sour and bitter contempt for the Imperium of Man; something between the envy of a dying race for a growing one, however painful and difficult that growth might be, and the schadenfreude of an old fool watching a young fool make all the same mistakes- which made neither of them less of a fool, come to think of it.


She had not been sent as the representative of her people, they hadn’t really expected or wanted to make contact at all. What the hell they thought they were doing creeping about the corridors of the base was therefore something of a mystery, unless they had a particularly massive cultural blind spot when it came to breaking and entering.
No, placing surveillance devices made some kind of sense, had to give them that.

They did seem to have a few biological advantages, none of which had been enough to save them from the bizarre internal murder of most of the species- that wasn’t the way she told it, it was the way he interpreted it.
She wasn’t the representative of her people; too young for that. Pushing six hundred and too young. Hm. Making comments like that couldn’t have made them popular even in the days when they were a numerous and growing race.

She had been a vapour-deposition machinist, a gemcutter, a plant beautician, a ballerina. The turn of the wheel had taken her through a military career on occasion, Banshee, she said, as if that meant something special- a troop type- a combat psyker, a Warlock, and now this. Farseer, according to her sifting through the threads of the future, according to him, once you sawed off all the meaningless verbiage, a political analyst. Despite her own sense of something terrible waiting for her, she had been chosen, and agreed to go, because she was the most suited for the task.

The contact of minds had it’s own peculiar effect, he was starting to like her. Her people, however, seemed poisonously xenophobic, hostile, isolationist, no warmth left in them, willing to inflict any misery, manipulate the other races to the edge of damnation if need be to save a handful of their own. Even the Old Republic wouldn’t have stood still for that.
Her information, on the other hand, might have brought her people a measure of tolerance, for the time being.


For instance, the people she contemptuously referred to as ‘clockwork monkeys’ were properly termed the Adeptus Mechanicus and were strictly speaking an embedded ally of the Imperium rather than a part of it. Many of their beliefs and habits were radically different, for instance they did not worship the Emperor as a quasi- living god.
Lennart had already decided to minimise that part in his reports, in case Palpatine decided it sounded like a good idea.

The mechanicus believed in the machine, believed in it religiously with all that implied; they replaced their flesh with machine parts, and were making use of them to make more noise than anyone else.
The argument was getting heated, and Lennart noted that his own side of the table were getting increasingly worried; the back of the hangar was kept in shadow- faint light absorbing fields to make sure it was that way- and the support team that Lennart waved to come forwards and make themselves obvious were supposed to be the last resort. Droids.

It was a risk that made him wish they had had time to place the shaped antipersonnel mines in the floor, and as much to do with administering culture shock as anything else.
They were part of Disenfranchiser’s space to space outfit, their equivalent of Black Prince’s boarding batallion. The team that rolled out consisted of three veteran reddish bronze and nine slate grey new-build Droidekas, twelve B-2 heavy battle droids, twelve mixed HK and IG series with longer guns to balance the light rapid blasters the rest were toting.

The snap-hiss of the droids activating their weapons, and the droidekas their shields, got attention; the sort of sound the guard and astartes trained to notice.
One of the cyborgs flipped out, pointed at them and started screaming and waving what were obviously weapons on cybertentacles, howling and wailing about abominable intelligence.
Which made no first order sense, considering how little of them was flesh.


‘It is obvious,’ Lennart tried to say over the babble, got nowhere, reached for the microphone and waved to switch on the amps. ‘It is obvious,’ the speaker system bellowed, before dropping back to a less painful level, ‘that some of the things we do horrify you. And you’re not particularly appealing to us either.
I propose a resolution; that both sides agree not to be shocked. Whatever you do or say, or believe or hold as part of your identity, we have to deal with as a fact. And vice versa. No babble.’

It seemed to make some kind of sense to most of them, although it was far from the legal admission that some of them promptly demanded, but others had switched off their ears. Possibly literally.
‘No, we refuse to compromise, the thought of tolerance is heresy-‘ from the black armoured marine, ‘Duty forbids,’ from the fleet, and the tinboys were squealing again; ‘Machine intelligence is a crime and an abomination.’

Lennart’s temper got the better of him at that point. It shouldn’t have, but the reality resistance of the other side of the table was just too much. Switch the internal baffle fields from standby to active, and he pointed out to the cogboy
‘Under our system, you would have the same legal status- you’ve replaced so much of your flesh with metal you would lose the rights and privileges of a human being, be downgraded to a robot.’


It took a couple of seconds for the mechanicus to get through the shock and horror at what he had said, and they did so in a spasm of horror and rage.
The internal baffle fields were to contain explosions in the hangar bay, they should block weapons fire. No coincidence that one ran right down the middle of the table.

Two lasgun dendrites, a circular saw and an inferno pistol popped out and pointed on; the lasgun weren’t a problem, but the melta weapon- the baffles deflected the heat back, for the most part.
One of the senior mechanicus, the flash melted the control relays in his levitation gear; with his robes on fire, he bounced around the hangar bay like a wailing incendiary pinball. One of the naval officers was on the ground, hands over his eyes and screaming, they had been burnt out by the flash; one of the others was trying to tend to him, his own jacket on fire but he didn’t seem to notice.

The fire suppression system kicked in, heat sinks drawing off the excess energy; Lennart ordered them shut down- the bypass they had, the filters that were supposed to avoid supercooling living creatures to death, didn’t recognise most of the mechanicus as human. Maybe it was right, they certainly didn’t deserve better, but killing them would compound the problem.
The space marine in the tartan armour grabbed the shooter and pounded his head off the table, when that splintered pounded his head off the floor instead.

When the situation had been calmed down and nobody was burning any more on the IoM side of the table, Lennart couldn’t resist adding deadpan ‘I think you realise now why my proposal has some practical merit.’
Actually rather more calmly than he felt, he wanted to add ’and are you going to shoot that mad dog, or shall I?’ What he did actually go on to say was ‘Do you need medical aid?’
‘No, we shall look after our own.’ The most senior undamaged- well, moderately damaged- mechanicus said.

‘Oh, and as a rider to that, any assassination attempts you feel to be utterly unavoidable, can they at least be conducted with individual target weapons? No persistent chemistry, no blast effects?’
There was some embarrassment on the side of the Imperium, but no-one was going to lower themselves by admitting to it. Finally the tartan one said ‘Get assassinated a lot, dae ye?’

‘Not normally, no…’ Lennart deadpanned. ‘I should be jumping up and down screaming for vengeance, reparations and sanctions, all that jazz, but the plain fact is he hurt a lot more people on your side of the table than he did on mine.’ Apart from a few pairs of brown underpants, no damage done- the brilliant white point, the intensity that alone could have cost eyes, had been blocked quickly by the shields reacting to the intensity of it.


‘Lower your power fields and let us depart.’ One of the naval officers, speaking more formally than Lennart thought he would be able to with one side of his face cooked, said.
‘Fine, your way out is clear. Oh and when would you like to start the war?’ Lennart replied. Shock tactics.
‘Now just haud on a meenit-‘ Lachlan began, looking for a platform, uneasily aware that firing a melta pistol at someone’s face probably did constitute an act of aggression.

‘By all means take your wounded away for treatment, but unless this is to be the last word on the subject- and what a pointless waste of lives that would be- somebody needs to talk to us.’ He hoped someone was listening. ‘We have too much to discuss, too much to decide to let the prospect of mutual support and gainful trade collapse entirely.’

Which, as if in editorial comment, was exactly what the large oval table did. Sliced in half by the shield line and burnt through to where it could no longer sustain it’s weight, it creaked, splintered and collapsed to the duracrete hangar floor.
‘Actually,’ Lennart said as if it had just occurred to him, ‘a short recess while we dig another table out of storage might be entirely appropriate.’


From the diaries of Commissar Cain;

Well, this promised to be an interesting tour. I have to admit, that’s one thing I’ve been extraordinarily fortunate in on the whole; there have been “had to destroy it to save it” pyrrhic victories, campaigns that balanced on a knife edge (and I was given far more credit than I deserved helping them land right way up, but that’s several other stories) and some where it was just bludgeon work, pounding and pounding, but this promised to be my first complete experience of an actual genuine military disaster. Assuming I could get out of it in one piece, of course.

I’d rather blah, blah than blam, blam any day of the week, although I can’t say I have the temperament to do it week in, week out; it didn’t look as if we were going to get the option.
I wondered where we were going to go from here; it was obvious that this wasn’t going to work, and where I personally went, physically, was to the dropship to call Kasteen and get her to put the regiment on red alert. Resisting the impulse to run towards it, climb in, lift off, commandeer the Cittern and get the frak out.

As I went, I tried to add up the situation as it stood and work out what had actually happened. Only one of them had done the talking; all of us had put our two thrones in- we hadn’t exactly impressed them with the glory and dignity of the Imperium.
They, on the other hand, had scared the frak out of us. They must have been improvising, couldn’t possibly have planned all of that- certainly not planned a spanner-brained cogboy trying to blast him, and succeeding in blasting anything vaguely resembling moral high ground we might have had.


Their chief negotiator hadn’t even flinched. I’d ended up hiding under the table. We still- we hadn’t even got as far as proper introductions; some of us had tried, but the confusion was too much, the crosstalk too great. They had been poised, controlled, and when the situation turned to dreck had reacted more in sorrow than in anger, like one of my old tutors at the schola to a particularly juvenile prank- something I found out later was a lucky guess, he had been an instructor.

Infuriating, actually, but the alternative worried me even more. Our side was going to have to think very hard about what it wanted out of this and how it intended to get it. We really needed to sort ourselves out, sit down and think about this. Which was likely to result in only a different flavour of disaster.
I reckoned I could just about swing it for myself to speak for the Guard, but that was still low down on the pecking order, even assuming it was any less mad an option from my personal point of view.

The Navy, the Astartes, the Mechanicus, the Ecclesiarchy- and that meant the Sororitas, as far as arguing with them went- and the Administratum, at best the ground-pounders like me came in fourth behind the cogboys. At worst, down at sixth- or seventh, if the Inquisition took a hand.
Obviously, the xenos could threaten us.
Almost as much with their tolerance as their weaponry. If they thought of doing private and separate deals among us for their trade- and they probably would- then, frak, we could find ourselves shooting at each other.


I found myself trudging across the obviously smoothed off rock with two of the naval officers, one of the younger and less stupid cogboys who was probably a fearful heretic by their own standards, Lachlan, and Colonel Caffran.
Lachlan was in a black mood, having had rank pulled on him by the Deathwatch- the last people I’d have chosen.
‘What do you make of this?’ Caffran said, equally grumpy; he looked ready to tear somebody’s head off.
‘There’s an urgent recall out to the main body of the battle group.’ One of the naval officers said- young chap, curly dark hair, insignia of a fairly important officer. Ship commander- went on to become moderately famous. Trumpetman or something.

‘They should be on their way back here, two to four days probably three. Then we might have the force to make a fight of it, if it comes to that.’ He added, sounding not at all pleased about the idea.
To forestall any further humming and hawing, I said ‘Well, we’re all loyal servants of the Imperium, I know we’ll all do our utmost if it comes to a fight.’ I said, in best inspire-the-troops mode. Adding quietly ‘That said…’

‘Ay, three days o’ blunders an’ fankles.’ Lachlan grumbled. ‘Ah’ve been in what seemed tae be a hopeless fight or three- ye just keep bashin’ oan an’ hope the enemy hasnae’ got as much guts as they thocht they hid. Seemin’ly hopeless isnae’ a problem, but seemin’ pointless is. An’ ah have tae admit they’re bein’ offensively peaceful.’
‘Pardon me, Brother-Sargeant, but are you suggesting we’d be better off if we were actually at war?’ the young navy lad asked.
‘Sargeant-Commander, if ye want tae be technical- Glaive class frigate Sgiamh- an’ we ken how tae dae war. The Imperium knows what it’s daein’, when it involves shootin’ an’ bein’ shot at. Ah don’t think we ken how tae dae peace.’

‘So the Admiral- or the Magos Militaris- might just choose to start shooting because they can’t think of anything else to do? Mag-fething-nificent.’ Caffran grumbled. ‘Can we? For that matter- should we? If we present anything other than a united front to match theirs, they can start trying to split us.’
‘Divide and rule, by xenos, against the Imperium?’ I said incredulously- more than I felt and trying not to think the next unthinkable thought, that if we sought a separate deal ourselves we might be betraying the Imperium, and not just by letting someone else do the hard work either- an option always sought but equally always elusive.

‘Well, that’s how it almost always happens, isn’t it?’ the older of the two naval men said. ‘Chaos and treachery- we don’t need much in the way of external enemies, really.’
‘Are we even sure they’re enemies? They bring the-‘ the cogboy started to say, then stopped himself- showing highly unusual signs of social awareness- and instead of preaching, said ‘they’re highly advanced.’
‘Did you no’ realise how much they took agin’ you? Ah didna’ see a single augmetic among them, even wi’ full blown Iron Men in their midst.’ Lachlan pointed out.

‘A theological conundrum.’ The cogboy acknowledged. ‘Was there a similar rebellion? Did their Iron Men turn on them and were successfully brought back within parameters- or has that yet to come? Ahhh. If they have a set psychodirective to preserve the function modes interinoperable, then that perhaps is the crack in their face- hardening.’
None of understood what he meant; he wandered off after his own people.

‘I think,’ Trombone, or whatever his name was, said, ‘he meant that they couldn’t possibly be as tolerant as they look. They’re just as much fanatics as the admech are, from a different direction. And that possibly we can work on that.’
‘You’ve had a lot of experience decoding their jargon?’ Caffran asked him.
‘You’re lucky, you don’t need them as badly as we do. I’ve always felt that they acted as if my ship really belonged to them, they were just lending it to the navy. After a while you learn mechanicese in self defence.’ Clarinet stated.

‘It’s no’ the worship of the machine that gets ma goat,’ Lachlan said, ‘once ye’ve been in the bowels o’ a runnin’ plasma drive, felt the echoes of the power around ye rumblin’ through yer bones, a certain reverence seems entirely natural, ye ken? “Predestination in the stride of yon connectin’- rod” an a’ that.
Whit annoys me is the fact that they couldna’ gie two shits ony mair about the flesh and blood man.’ He paused for thought. ‘If they lead us intae’ a shootin’ match…whit if we let them get on wi’ it?’

‘What, go it alone?’ I wondered. A titan legion and the equivalent of a brigade of crack redshirts- they could do a lot of damage, if they put their minds to it. To us if we got in their way, come to think of it, but enough to destroy the base and whatever else the xenos reinforced it with? Even if they could it would be a damn’ fool way to open a campaign. ‘No, can’t be done. Divide and conquer, remember?’
‘If we let them take offence, and take action, without us, then the xenos will have divided us, and need only move to take us apart one faction at a time. Which might be less painful than if the Mechboys actually win- they’d be insufferable.’ Caffran pointed out.

A’right, it was a stupit’ idea. Next daft question; did ah just hear the sound o’ a robot revolt bein’ planned? Subvert the aaliens by means o’ their machines?’ Lachlan wondered.
‘I think you did.’ I said, adding ‘Frak knows how, although if the outsiders turn out to be better at it-’
Lachlan’s voxlink beeped from inside his helmet, and I looked at it to realise mine was pinging too. And Caffran’s, Trumpet’s and the other navy officer’s.

It was the Admiral. He seemed to know exactly who he was talking to- I heard the same message come out of all five vox units.
‘I have just received a call from the chief of the alien delegation. I’m not sure whether to be most offended by what he said officially or what he said unofficially.
Officially he formally protested at the behaviour of the adeptus mechanicus. Unofficially- the infuriating bastard commiserated with me. Said it couldn’t be easy for a bluff old spacedog to find himself running a zoo full of lunatics.’ Stone sounded furiously angry; their sympathy even more insulting than their annoyance.

‘Admiral, it’s possible that they’ve lost patience and are trying to provoke us.’ I pointed out. ‘We still don’t know them well enough to tell what they want and how far they’ll go to get it, but-‘
‘The slaughtered missionary gambit.’ The older of the two naval officers, Trencher I think, said. Old trick- good thought, too. Send a handful of odiously cheerful Ecclesiarchy drones to a world, annoy everybody, have them martyred, instant Crusade. ‘If they really are a galactic empire on a comparable scale, then they’ve sent a tiny fraction of their forces. Just enough to make a scandal that could justify a full blown invasion.’

‘How we’re supposed to martyr them, I couldn’t tell you.’ Caffran pointed out. ‘On the ground we may have the numbers of them, but at the moment, it’s by their grace that we’re breathing.’
‘Ah don’t buy it. Were any o’ ye watchin’ the mannie’s eyes?’ Lachlan said. ‘Naw? Well, maist people’s eyeba’s jump aboot, dartin’ frae point tae point, sweepin’ the field of view. His didnae’. Looked at wan o’us after ana’er, up and doon, measuring like, an’ on tae the next. No’ canny. The rest were pictures o’ brisk intent, an’ a’. They didnae’ look like natural martyrs tae me.’

‘Their chief negociator, can you tell me more about him as a man?’ the admiral asked.
‘He wears his job like a second skin.’ I said, and found Caffran and Lachlan both looking surprised for a second, then nodding in agreement. ‘Relaxed and amiable enough to make you think he’s sloppy, but took in everything, missed nothing. Reminded me of a tarot player- running with changing circumstances.’

‘Why, after having a melta gun fired point blank at his head, do you think they still want to talk?’ Stone asked. ‘I’d consider myself justified in ordering the attack if that happened to me- assuming I had a convenient power field- why do they not? Is cross table warfare so prevalent in their universe that they see no need to object?’
‘If “commodore” means the same to them as it does to us, he’s a naval officer and probably the man in charge of the first alien ship.’ Tuba said- so he had caught that too, had he?

‘They know almost as little about us as we know about them.’ I pointed out. ‘They’re used to being shot at, they were expecting it or something like it, and they need information badly enough to take the risk.’
‘They were tryin’ tae get us tae react.’ Lachlan said. ‘Playin’ for shock value, jolt us intae’ using wur brains, didna’ get the reaction they were expecting. They’re willin’ tae try again?’
‘They have requested we send a smaller delegation- most of them chosen by name, or at least described closely enough to identify them individually.’

I had expected something of the sort; I could feel the leaden weight of doom descend upon me. ‘The other names on the list?’
‘Commander Bugler-‘ so that was his name- ‘Sargeant-Commander McDougall, Technomancer Vintz-Orthogon SE.’
‘They still want to deal with the Mechanicus?’ Bugler wondered.
‘Naw, I ken Vinnie- he’s crazy enough tae be a’ right, he’s aboot the only wan I wid trust wi’ this.’ Lachlan stated. ‘Most o’ the time he’s the Cinereus Cursoris’ salvage an’ investigations officer. Pillage an’ expropriation, that’s his gemme. Ye’ll ken him when ye meet him, he’s the wan wi’ the gauss flayer.’

There didn’t seem to be very much sensible to say in response to that. ‘Physical security?’
‘How many gunmen are they going to let you bring, you mean?’ Caffran questioned.
‘As many as you like, they said; but no more than a dozen authorised to speak. It seems they fear our chaos more than they fear our weaponry.’ The admiral said, disgruntled, and thankfully no vision screen to watch me reacting to his interesting choice of words. ‘Their faith in themselves is worrying- do you think it is a bluff?’

Now that was actually a damned interesting thought. If the warp was stronger on this side- how were their psykers reacting? Like Wierdboyz with their heads exploding left, right and centre? How vulnerable were they to the blandishments of Chaos?
I hoped I was wrong- that something like that wasn’t behind their willingness to meet and talk.
‘If we don’t, what will they do?’ I asked rhetorically, trying to be reasonable. ‘They can’t afford to fail. If we refuse, they’ll probably just attack and interrogate the survivors. If we control what they find out we might be able to make allies of them after all.’
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LadyTevar
PostPosted: 2009-02-10 09:28pm 

White Mage


Joined: 2003-02-12 11:59pm
Posts: 17483
Location: Tahalshia Manor
About time you updated this :)
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Eleventh Century Remnant
PostPosted: 2009-02-10 10:00pm 

Jedi Council Member


Joined: 2006-11-20 07:52am
Posts: 2233
Location: Scotland
:oops: I know, I know. it's just that...well, maybe I'm taking this too seriously. I ended up scrapping and rewriting it almost completely, until it felt right, or at least righter.

It is fun, working with effectively two protagonists; the need to do justice to them both effectively works as a safeguard against going too far off the rails into munchkin territory on either side, and while the strategic situation definitely has it's say, neither of them are the type to be helpless pawns of fate.

Also, as if it wasn't obvious already, the Lions of Caledon are so flagrantly and radically heretical it's a miracle they weren't purged millennia ago. One of them quotes Rudyard Kipling, for kriff's sake- "MacAndrew's Hymn". No, they're not supposed to know things like that, preImperial knowledge, yes the Ordo Hereticus might object, but I refer you to Captain McCrimmon's comment "Wouldna' be the first Inquisitor the Chapter's killed and eaten."
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Satori
PostPosted: 2009-02-10 10:19pm 

Youngling


Joined: 2007-03-20 12:27pm
Posts: 146
Eleventh Century Remnant wrote:

Also, as if it wasn't obvious already, the Lions of Caledon are so flagrantly and radically heretical it's a miracle they weren't purged millennia ago. One of them quotes Rudyard Kipling, for kriff's sake- "MacAndrew's Hymn". No, they're not supposed to know things like that, preImperial knowledge, yes the Ordo Hereticus might object, but I refer you to Captain McCrimmon's comment "Wouldna' be the first Inquisitor the Chapter's killed and eaten."


Anyone in the IOM that is interesting and competent is pretty much a heretic. >.<
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Darth Raptor
PostPosted: 2009-02-11 12:52am 

Red Mage


Joined: 2003-12-18 04:39am
Posts: 5448
Droidekas in postwar gunmetal gray = nerdgasm.
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Academia Nut
PostPosted: 2009-02-11 01:08am 

Sith Devotee


Joined: 2005-08-23 10:44pm
Posts: 2598
Location: Edmonton, Alberta
As a fluff note there, a Farseer is an Eldar Seer who has become lost to the Path of the Seer and is no longer psychologically capable of moving on to another occupation. They will continue to refine and perfect their abilities with obsessive compulsive need until the day they die and their souls are added to their Craftworld's Infinity Circuit. The Warlock is a Seer with prior warrior training who has not yet succumbed to the Eldar need for perfection that drove their culture insane and produced Slaanesh.

The Eldar are really fucked up as a race.
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rodon
PostPosted: 2009-02-11 03:23am 

Redshirt


Joined: 2008-10-16 03:32am
Posts: 26
Also note that the Farseers tend to turn to crystal when they die due to their over use of their psychic abilities. Not that I've seen this in the books, but it is mentioned in the fluff.

From Wikipedia:
As many Farseers age however, their bodies slowly turn to a form of psychically active crystal, a transformation caused by their constant exposure to the chaotic energies of the Warp. When the time has come, they will go to the Dome of the Crystal Seers and join the crystalline bodies of the Farseers that came before them.
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fractalsponge1
PostPosted: 2009-02-11 12:23pm 

Jedi Knight


Joined: 2006-04-30 08:04pm
Posts: 949
Darth Raptor wrote:
Droidekas in postwar gunmetal gray = nerdgasm.


No, Droidekas in shiny stormtrooper white and matte black = nerdgasm.

Image in a tux anyone?

This will get bloody soon, I think. Great update ECR!
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Vianca
PostPosted: 2009-02-13 02:56pm 

Padawan Learner


Joined: 2006-01-20 09:00am
Posts: 301
fractalsponge1 wrote:
No, Droidekas in shiny stormtrooper white and matte black = nerdgasm.

Image in a tux anyone?

This will get bloody soon, I think. Great update ECR!

Even Warhammer 40K ain't safe for them. :angelic:
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Eleventh Century Remnant
PostPosted: 2009-02-28 03:23pm 

Jedi Council Member


Joined: 2006-11-20 07:52am
Posts: 2233
Location: Scotland
More; and if it seems a little rushed, there's a reason for that. I decided to put in a shout-out for a webcomic which I happen to enjoy, and some of the 40K'ers out there undoubtedly know about already- Turn Signals on a Land Raider http://tsoalr.com/.
I go over there, and find out the author can't afford to keep the site going much longer, so this may be the last chance to see- go and enjoy it while it's still there.



A Squelch of Empires ch 11

Around the table, the assembled representatives of the Imperium of Man were boggling at a simple display of technological superiority; the holo projector.
Tactical link, high bandwidth, gyro steady and photon sharp- as opposed to their own which were frequently the other way around. It was showing two galaxies, one above the other, one with a pair of close dwarf companions, both large spirals.
Their own was library, the locals was sensor data from the interferometer line of probes.

‘First silly question; have any of your stars moved irregularly, imploded, unpredictably exploded, changed spectral type, mutated, otherwise departed from the main sequence, learned to talk, or decided not to shine recently?’ Lennart asked.
He got a set of confused glares back, from the political officer who didn’t, no, who knew exactly what he was talking about and was desperately trying not to admit it. From the mechanicus who was immediately considering the theological implications of the question, that theirs didn’t.


The two warship commanders who ought to know, the actual navy officer looked envious then contemplative- Lennart could tell, his basic technique of acting like a psionic sponge seemed to be bearing fruit, that the young man was initially astonished, recovered quickly, and was trying to decide what to admit and what to conceal.
The marine, he knew a fair amount about it too, and was distinctly disturbed by the whole concept- his mind was veering towards the prospect of a private accommodation, not with the problem but with the Empire.

As Lennart had expected, they hadn’t been able to arrive without representation from the other elements of their side. Lachlan in particular was seething inside, as he had only managed to get out of being overseen by the Deathwatch by the drastic expedient of accepting something even worse; the company of Canoness Palmyra of the Order of the Rose of Blazing Agony.
She, in her capacity as representative of the theocracy, was radiating a sour and narrow- minded loathing for everyone and everything around her.

Cain, the political officer, was accompanied by the heavyweight soldier he had been talking to earlier and another representative of the ground forces, a bizarrely misshapen man who had a metal disc embedded in his forehead.
The technomancer was accompanied by one normal- looking man, in a military longcoat with insignia- that worried Lennart. The eldar hadn’t exactly gone into detail about the Imperium, just sketched out the bones. He was some kind of war- machine pilot, had been studying the AT-ATs closely and didn’t seem to think much of them. That and another machine- man.
The naval officers had their seconds too, one of whom was obviously a flag lieutenant.


Evidently the question touched a nerve. ‘I presume that the answer to that question of the instability of the stars is, yes?’ Lennart asked, trying to look moderately surprised.
‘The will of the Emperor is the light that illuminates the stars.’ The baroque armoured woman said, as if it was a fact- worse, as if it was an explanation. The others winced, but made no effort to contradict her. However flaky she was it was less painful than confronting what must be a very ugly reality head on.

‘How many of these stars do you actually control?’ Lennart pointed at the image of their galaxy.
‘The worlds of the Imperium are without number, jewels in the void.’ She stated.
‘Ye obviously huvnae’ been tae the same worlds.’ Lachlan said, sotto voce, but Lennart put it rather more plainly.
‘You’re a religious nutter, aren’t you?’ he said, sarcastically, and watched their reactions. Stunned horror from most, evidently that was a jest too far- these people took their faith seriously.

The marine was shaking his head, even if it was true it was terribly bad form to say so. Fine. He needed to break these people’s resistance down, it was becoming painfully obvious that this environment was corrosive to sanity.
So…religion, then? Going pre-emptively mad in their own way to stop the galaxy driving them insane in it’s? Hell of a survival technique. Hell of a threat that made it necessary.


She chose to deal with his scepticism by self assertion. Lennart hoped the shield wall was up to taking a micromissile round. ‘We are the warrior arm of the Ecclesiarchy.’ She declared, overriding the ‘nutter’ part – or taking it as a given- and clearly could have gone on about the Saving Radiance, the Divine Word and Divine Might of the Emperor, but Lennart held up his hand.
He could have laughed at her- felt very much like doing so, her mind was such a grotesquely misshapen nodule of acidic fervour it was the only response it deserved- but that would be diplomatically fatal.

In fact, it was getting increasingly difficult not to. Perhaps Lennart had absorbed more of the harlequins’ outlook than he thought he had; she, that tiny minded, frantic puddle of hate, was exactly the sort of thing they lived and loved to mock.
Not quite, he thought, not quite; the seed of common sense is still there, if she is a fantastic mutation of the wits- worse than any chemical or radiational grotesque- then it is because she has been exposed to a source of fantastic mutation, which I believe I can name. Although- if these people are warped this badly by their own protective measures, what the kriff does it look like when those measures fail?

Like something…wondrous, a peculiarly birdlike voice at the back of his head said.
He told it to piss off, and said to the battle sister ‘Your ways are strange to us; we have no state religion, don’t need one, and it would probably be culturally impossible anyway. There was a band of cultists that made themselves of some service- but they exceeded their authority, failed in their aims, and were stamped out by the power of the secular state.’


That was about as twisted a version of the Cloister Coup as it was possible to produce, but it was true, from a certain point of view. A monstrous pack of lies, considering the rise of the Sith and their lesser minions, but there were some things best not said.
In both directions, too. Not quite the situation of a deep-sea creature raised to the surface after all; in a background of far greater power...could there be such a thing as Force Obesity? A surfeit of indigestable power, clogging the arteries of the soul? Considering the monstrous error of judgement Alderaan had been, and disposing of the senate, Palpatine probably suffered from it already.

It had very strange results; all of them, even the mechanicus, looked utterly horrified by that. No religion? None at all? The kamikaze nun couldn’t take it; she drew herself up to her full height, seven foot four in high heeled power armour and ridiculous pudding bowl haircut, and attempted to lay a curse on him.
‘Condemned to damnation be he that turns his face from the Emperor; cast from grace are those-‘

That was as far as she got before Lennart, unable to hold it in any longer, made his diplomatic suicide attempt. He laughed at her. Once he started, feeling the angry resonance from her mind and the images that wafted in on it, there was nothing else to do; doubled over, pounded his fist on the table, fell off his chair and literally rolled on the floor laughing.
The men of the Imperium of Man looked at him mostly blank-faced, stunned by the sheer audacity and effrontery of laughing at one of the sisters of battle; actually, the political officer looked a shade envious.

When he eventually managed to stop, he climbed back into his seat, looked over them and said ‘Does anyone, in your skull-ridden wasteland of a state, even remember how to laugh? The madness fuelled pain that you have suffered, and dealt out in the indiscriminate purging of guilty and innocent alike- do you have no conception of how utterly ridiculous, how stunningly cosmically inappropriate it is for you to try to curse me?’
Actually, there may be more than a few grains of truth in that if we can’t solve this force problem.


One of his seconds took over- ‘Your galaxy with the dubious stars, how many of them do you control?’ Commander Qalkhir asked her- he was the com/scan department head from Glacier. The machine spirit killer.
Lennart found it difficult to trust him, partly because of his almost total lack of a sense of humour, partly because he really was very good, and to be that sharp as a slicer, amongst other things, meant that the Ubiqtorate would have been keeping an eye on him, and therefore he was highly likely to be their man.

There was some humming and hawing, and eventually the political officer said ‘What is it that you intend to do with the answer?’
‘Contemplate it.’ Lennart said. ‘You must have thought, I know we did, what are all the guns for? What, you didn’t?’
‘I wonder who your enemies are, that you need that kind of firepower.’ Cain said.
‘I wonder who your enemies are, that you need those numbers.’ Lennart bounced back.

‘Seriously, you’ve probably guessed, we worked some of it out from the armed merchant that fell through the wormhole, guessed some of the rest from interferometry and interceptions- we came in cold and are learning as we go. We are the galactic hegemon.’ the holoimage of their own galaxy lit up with the controlled stars in brilliant red, all fifty-plus million officially inhabited, all the how many million others with less than a genetically stable population- mining camps, research colonies and terraforming bases, all the stars regularly overseen by the might of the Galactic Empire.

‘We are a multiracial power, something which may or may not be connected to that, and we currently have no external enemies that matter in the slightest.’ Lennart said, optimistically but essentially correctly.
‘No pockets.’ Bugler said.
‘Rather difficult for a stellar agglomeration to wear a jacket.’ Lennart quipped. ‘Unless you sew them into a shkadov thruster, but that’s not what you mean, you’re looking for political pockets. There are individual worlds, and segments of the population on too damn’ many worlds, but nothing at this resolution.’

But there are some.’ The political officer said shrewdly.
‘Keeping the galaxy this way takes effort.’ Lennart admitted. ‘I presume things are the same on this side, otherwise why the assorted gigatonnage of dinosaur, combat, naval mk 1b you have here?’
Hard to avoid acknowledging the truth of that; although the insult involved was harder to swallow, and Lennart regretted it- no doubt there would be better things to take the mick out of later on.


‘So your enemies are essentially domestic, the prime job is internal security?’ The broad- shouldered ground force trooper said.
‘We most often find ourselves going up against renegades of our own weight and type, yes.’ Lennart admitted. ‘If they weren’t at least as capable as our own home grown loonies, we wouldn’t really need to try very hard to squish them. Your tentacle waving space monsters, what are they called?’

‘Tyranids?’ Cain said, adding ‘they’re not ours, you can have them if you like.’
Lennart was starting to be able to pick up tone and timbre in gothic, it helped that most of them spoke slowly by comparison, and the political officer seemed to consider them very dangerous indeed.
‘Those overgrown cockroaches are actually a real problem to you?’
‘Problem? Their main body tried tae eat the Imperium no’ sae long ago, an’ took a damn’ big bite afore they got their comeuppance.’ The tartan- clad Marine said.


‘Which brings us back to the state of your galaxy in general- absent the theology and propaganda, do you actually have the resources and scale for it to be worth the Galactic Empire’s dealing with you? If a billion or so of those things are actually a serious threat-’ Lennart suggested leaving it hanging- when he noticed the looks of horror on the IoM detachment’s faces. A billion of them were more than just a serious threat, it seemed.

‘Just how badly put together is your Imperium?’ he asked. ‘They can make you fear them, I understand that, they’re probably much nastier up close- but in the void they had nothing, nothing at all.’
‘When we can meet them head on, we usually win. We would have been able to take them today.’ Bugler stated. ‘It’s tracking them and intercepting them with enough force in enough time that’s the real problem.’ The others glared at him- for not taking proper and righteous offence at Lennart’s comments, mainly.

‘They take days to make planetfall.’ Lennart said. ‘You’re seriously trying to tell me that’s not enough time to reinforce?’ The Target-Rich Environment was starting to look better and better. No wonder they needed that kind of force density, if they couldn’t make the journey from world to world in less than- weeks? They could be taken apart piecemeal, after all.
The fact that they hadn’t been indicated that, whatever other enemies they had, they weren’t much better.


‘So how long does it take you?’ Bugler asked.
Lennart decided to show off. ‘Well, the Open Circle Fleet made their run to Second Coruscant in less than, what, fourteen hours including underway replenishment. Could have been faster but they needed to get there with enough fuel in hand to do something useful.’ His own team looked perplexed at him, choosing to mention such a historically touchy subject.
The political officer picked up on that, but before he could frame the question the technomancer asked ‘Fourteen hours from one star system to a neighbour?’

‘No…fourteen hours from the halo stars to the heart of the galaxy.’ Lennart said, watching the depth of their horror and surprise. The problems involved in the navigation he would leave to later. ‘I take it we are looking at some kind of hideous mismatch here, it would take you years or worse?’
The marine was too clued up to make the obvious slip, but the technomancer let it out. ‘The warp is pseudo- random, time unpredictable, short stages, perhaps sixty years.’

Lennart decided to annoy them by refusing to be surprised. ‘Ah, you are neofeudal. I thought so. This warp thing of yours, it seems to be the cause of a lot of your problems?’ And if there was a leading question involved…
‘What sort of problems is it causing you- you’re a psyker, aren’t you?’ the political officer challenged, more openly than he would have liked to but Lennart brought the subject up too directly for that.


‘Force user, thank you very much. The way it seems to pan out,’ Lennart decided to cut to the chase, ‘our universe has a much fainter- if they are two separate cases of the same general physical law, the force is far less significant than the warp. How do you go about protecting yourselves against it?’
‘Faith in the Emperor.’ Sister Palmyra snapped, gratified to get one back on this mocking heretic.

‘Really? That’s all- oh.’ A patriarchal glow with an undertone of screams, their hypersensitive had said, and presumably that was him. Screams? Lennart decided he could quite happily go without knowing exactly what that worship consisted of, although chances were they were quite likely to find out. Their religion and their madness made a little more sense now.
‘How effective is this beacon?’ he asked, admitting that he knew about it.
‘Did the eldar tell ye, or kin ye-‘ the marine began, letting slip that they knew about that.

‘One of my crew noticed it almost at once, as soon as we spent any time here at all.’ Lennart acknowledged. That contained another message, which the political officer and the young space commander picked up on.
We can follow your beacon, we can find your capital system, and get there in far less time than it takes you to reinforce. Decapitation just became a viable strategic option.


‘Through ra ‘nids? Past yon hive mind?’ Lachlan said, incredulously, changing the subject to hopefully prevent Lennart realising that they had worked it out for themselves, too. Not quite fast enough.
‘Essentially, yes. Why, is that supposed to be impossible?’ Lennart said, enjoying himself with that.
‘It’s supposed tae’ be damn’ near suicidal. Could’ ha ca’d the hive mind down oan ye.’ He thought about it and added ‘No’ that that would ha’ been ae problem.’

‘I go back to my earlier question. Yes, we do know of something like the warp- it’s much less powerful, we only have a relative handful of people who are any good with it, and they all seem to go into politics for some reason.’ Lennart said dryly, to the considerable amusement of his own side.
‘It isn’t them I’m worried about. It’s the people, possibly thousands on my side, whose below-the-resolution trace of force aptitude gets magnified here into real power that they don’t have the slightest idea how to handle, and brings them to the attention of the strange attractors in the warp they don’t have the slightest idea how to fight off.’

There was a general appearance of absolute horror on the IoM side of the table; a possibility only the political officer had even dimly considered.
Lennart could almost hear him thinking, and to his pleasant surprise the unthinkable had occurred to him after all.
If they are vulnerable to chaos, he was thinking, if they fall easily, then chaos can become much stronger here, we could get a second Eye of Terror (a reference accompanied by an indistinct and fearful image)- but our best defence against them might be to let that happen.

Chaos is, well, chaotic, he was thinking; letting that kind of power fall into the hands of random madmen- or the sort of warped abomination people exposed to the powers of chaos frequently became- would be a disaster to echo down the ages.
With all that, it might actually be less dangerous for the Imperium than showing them how to withstand the powers of darkness and having them and their new order arrive to kick our arses in a thorough, efficient manner.
Sacrificing our enemies to the powers of chaos- that’s taking pragmatism too far, he consciously thought- the whole idea revolted him, but at least he had been able- minded enough to think of it.


While they were trying to think of a way to discuss the situation, the holodisplay started showing a little winking dot where they were. Coloured, in accidental accuracy, green.
Lennart left the table, pulled his com out of his pocket, uplinked to his ship, said in Standard ‘Brenn, you’re trying to tell me something?’

‘Afraid so, skipper- the doc says shadows at the edge of consciousness, LFIs and probes confirm incoming. Different to this bunch, more amateurish, more self- actuating, more anarchic, more conventionally blood-crazed, more mental sidebands if I understand her correctly.’
‘Definitely not this lot then- hostile?’ Lennart said, fairly sure that none of the locals had more than a tangential grasp of Galactic Basic, never mind Standard.

‘Very probably. Move the tankers clear?’ Brenn asked for confirmation.
‘Light year below the ecliptic, Silverblue as escort.’ Lennart agreed. ‘Condition of the ship?’
‘Few more internal security issues, nothing major. Officially Condition-2, in practise we’re at battle stations.’ Brenn reported.
‘Fine, make it official, anything else?’
‘One of their navigators called us to complain.’ Brenn said, sounding amused and perplexed. ‘Apparently their drives are Force powered, and we’re a small strange attractor in our own right.’

‘Oh, joy.’ Lennart said. ‘The locals’ normal strategic response time is abysmal, but if we’re here and actually making a difference to the stellar landscape-‘
‘We could be drawing in interested parties from sectors around.’ Brenn finished the thought.
‘Glorious. Welcome to the Target Rich Environment- actually, anything resembling a pseudopod count?’

‘The surgeon-commander says they all think alike, not a hive mind but more like lots of individual minds all thinking similar thoughts, running more or less in parallel, so its hard to make out details and judge from there; lots, though, probably in the tens of millions. LFIs seem to indicate anywhere from forty to seventy separate clumps of them.’ Brenn reported.
‘Right, keep scanning for other weirdness, I’ll talk to the IoM, if I’m not back in time deal with them yourself, and don’t shoot my shuttle.’ Lennart said.


Lennart turned back to the table, and said to the assembled representatives of the Imperium of Man ‘Who, among your list of enemies, would you describe as being amateurish, anarchic and bloodthirsty?’
‘Orks.’ Five of them said simultaneously. At least there was no doubt on the subject.
‘What are they like?’ Lennart asked.

‘Barbarians.’ The political officer said, with some real animosity in his voice. ‘Green, well muscled and lots of teeth, always come in packs and always eager for a fight. No attention span, lots of aggression, damn’ nasty up close. Or upwind.’
Well, that didn’t sound like too much of a problem.
‘Ah take it ye’re askin’ fur a parteecular reason?’ the tartan marine asked.
‘My com-scan people tell me we have somewhere from forty to seventy of whatever it is they come in heading this way. Any ideas?’

‘Tactically speakin’…they’re stupit’, but no’ so stupit’ as tae be unable to come up wi’ some damn’ ugly surprises wance in a while. Fightin’ them frae distance works better than lettin’ them get close, are ye thinkin’ o’ some kind ae joint operation?’ Lachlan asked.
‘Are you saying you’d refuse help if offered? Just because you think we’re filthy deviant atheistic heretics, and we think you’re a self-mutilation society writ large, I see no reason why a thriving mutual contempt shouldn’t ultimately lead to a productive business relationship, and cooperation has to begin somewhere.’


The shuttle had barely touched down when Lennart caught sight of Shandon Rythanor waiting for him on the pad. That in itself was a sign that something was very, very wrong.
‘What is it?’ Lennart asked him, the familiar surroundings making it easier for him to resist using the force to find out.
‘Message drone from Torchbearer, guard squadron. The locals sent a detachment to force the wormhole.’
‘Tell me on the way up.’ Lennart said, heading for the turbolift.

Rythanor relayed the whole ugly tale- minus most of the pictures- on the way up. How they were now, very probably, at war. Some of the Imperium’s ships had managed to get past the blockade in various states of damage, and were roaming around the Rishi Maze, and worse yet, some of them had fled back through the wormhole.
‘Well, I’ve just agreed to form a joint fighting line to face the orks.’ Lennart pointed out. ‘I’ve never been much of a seer- I prefer actual thinking- but even a battery droid could foresee an interesting clusterkriff in our immediate future.’
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Deadpan29
PostPosted: 2009-03-02 06:02pm 

Redshirt


Joined: 2008-01-28 07:45pm
Posts: 31
Location: Notre Dame
This chapter seems a bit off, simply because the two sides are giving up information more easily and truthfully than I would expect.
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Thanas
PostPosted: 2009-03-02 06:49pm 

Magister


Joined: 2004-06-26 07:49pm
Posts: 24878
Deadpan29 wrote:
This chapter seems a bit off, simply because the two sides are giving up information more easily and truthfully than I would expect.


I don't know. I found it to be a good update setting things up for another slaughter. Though I got to wonder what the Empire has to gain by joining a combined fleet. They sacrifice all their moblity, after all.
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Richardson
PostPosted: 2009-03-02 11:09pm 

Youngling


Joined: 2008-10-23 12:31am
Posts: 67
Who said they had to be in the main fleet, and not the mobile hammer to the imperium's anvil? Hyperspace out, then drive the chaos ships toward imperium lines, then have a few heavies drop into the imperium line as the black prince and others crush them between their forces.
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Chris OFarrell
PostPosted: 2009-03-03 04:53am 

Durandal's Bitch


Joined: 2002-08-02 07:57pm
Posts: 5724
Well I just finished reading through this fanfic from start to current and I have to say:

1. I love it.

2. I hate you.

'2' mostly because on and off I have wondered about writing my own SW-40K crossover and a lot of things I thought would be cool to do in it, you have liberally 'stolen' from me. So bah!

Still, I do look forward to seeing where this goes. Keep up the good work!
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Todeswind
PostPosted: 2009-03-03 10:39am 

Jedi Knight


Joined: 2008-09-01 07:16pm
Posts: 866
Location: Fukuoka, Japan
The story is enjoyable and very well written but I feel like it is perhaps a bit Mary Suish on the side of the SW empire. Still the portrayals of the SW and 40k personalities seem to flow in a logical and reasonable way, which is more than can be said about most fanfiction (or professional scifi) authors works.
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fractalsponge1
PostPosted: 2009-03-03 12:16pm 

Jedi Knight


Joined: 2006-04-30 08:04pm
Posts: 949
Todeswind wrote:
The story is enjoyable and very well written but I feel like it is perhaps a bit Mary Suish on the side of the SW empire. Still the portrayals of the SW and 40k personalities seem to flow in a logical and reasonable way, which is more than can be said about most fanfiction (or professional scifi) authors works.


Well, to be fair the SW imperial navy is quite a bit more professional and calculating in how it goes about the business of war. Part of the "mary sue" feel might just be the comparison putting into focus how weird WH40K really is.
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Eleventh Century Remnant
PostPosted: 2009-03-03 03:01pm 

Jedi Council Member


Joined: 2006-11-20 07:52am
Posts: 2233
Location: Scotland
I do take issue with the term 'Mary Sue'; I know I'm partial to my own characters, and I try not to give them too much credit but may not always succeed- but I always thought that the essence of mary sue- ism was in unearned ability. It's perfectly acceptable for a character to be good at something, provided they pay their dues- in show-don't-tell demonstrated competence, in backstory and in awesome. I've been writing this ship for a while, I know Black Prince's crew, and they're a good bunch- to be honest I need to put a few more arseholes in there for verisimilitude.

The Imperial Starfleet has the strengths of being a relatively newly organised service, with a great mass of recent and intense thought about what it's for, what it's supposed to do and how; against that, the Imperium's Navy has more combat experience and a greater depth of tradition. The Starfleet is better organised, the Navy fights with greater determination and dexterity on an individual basis.

The ships themselves, it really is quantity versus quality, but consider; this is essentially one IoM Navy sector group, plus reinforcements, and they probably CTL'd a Starfleet battlecruiser, crippled a light cruiser, hard killed two destroyers, from the abysmal position they found themselves in. Not exactly pathetic; you have to wonder if that damnfool Inquisitor had kept quiet, whether they actually could have broken the blockade.

I need to show more of the Starfleet lower deck, really, the individuals involved are the senior staff who could be expected to keep their cool and show leadership, there will be some who lose it; however, they're as likely to turn to Gork and Mork, or to the God-Emperor of All Mankind, as to chaos- and wouldn't that be fun?

The one example of unearned ability that really worries me is Jorian Lennart himself; from being a highly reluctant and de-facto in denial force user, he seems to be taking rather well to the Warp. Partly because the risk-return ratio actually seems better, (hey, you lose your soul either way- at least here you get a decent price for it), partly because he does have the mother wit to know his limitations and play to his strengths, but there really should be some ugly payback lurking there.

Where did his midi count come from, anyway? Pehaps his father, the consultant biomechanical engineer, had something to do with it? :wink:


Absent Sandy Mitchell's little touches, the likes of Arten Burrar's "The Abominable Chitin; a history of the later Tyrannic Wars" and Leander Kasmides' "Swatting the Swarm; the development of Imperial navy tactics against the hive fleets"- neither of which are to be found in a ship's confidential library- it is almost possible to believe the Imperium of Man has lost the concept of operational analysis.

There are fragmentary hints of fleet exercises, but how much good they do, who can say. It's not so much the lack of capability, but that capability is so often working at cross purposes or just plain dislocated.

And it is orks on their way, incidentally- two hulks, half a dozen Hammers, and a rough score each of Roks, Killkroozers and terror ships.
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